If you want to really see Tuscany, rent a car and give yourself time, a loose itinerary, and plenty of crackers to absorb the delicious regional wines. We only had a few days in Tuscany, but I'm pretty sure I could have entertained myself for weeks in rustic towns and centuries-old cities of central Italy.
Our first stop was the cute and small Montepulciano. If the name sounds familiar to you, it may be because this is the town in which filming for one of the Twilight movies took place. If you've seen (or enjoy) those movies, I'm sorry but we cannot be friends. Anyways, the town is great for wondering around, and all of the Italians we met there were quite welcoming and friendly. Make sure to stop at one of the local wineries for some free tastings too!
Our first winery, Cantine Contucci, graciously took us in without reservations and let us walk around a bit before pouring us samples from five different varieties. They were tasty and our sommelier was friendly and eager to share his knowledge and history with the winery.
We also visited Cantina de' Ricci. Although we didn't get as much one on one information about the wines, the cellar tour was much more extensive. We purchased a salami and cheese tray to accompany our wines and upon tasting all of the varieties offered, I am now a cheese person.
If wine, delicious food, and postcard-perfect scenery is your thing, stick with me. In the next few posts I'll be writing about several other stops we made in our Tuscan tour.