Honeymoon in Italy, Part 2: Tuscany & Back to Turin

The second week of the trip involved a lot more moving around and a return to driving. Note: Don’t drive in Italy. If you are behind the wheel, you will likely never feel comfortable, whether you are a cautious or aggressive driver.Β Signs are also confusing. Anyway…

We were happy to leave the crowds of Cinque Terre behind and head to Chianti for a bit more small town life. Upon our arrival in Gaiole in Chianti, we were greeted by our landlord Lorenzo, whose family runs La Macelleria Chini, a family-run butcher shop that has been open since 1682. After quickly determining that we weren’t vegetarians (whew), Lorenzo took us into the shop to slice us a free sampler platter of his shop’s finest salami and prosciutto.

The few days in Chianti were spent doing what one does when anywhere in Tuscany: eating and drinking. We did those things nowhere better than at what was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip for both of us, our cooking class at Toscana Mia.

This was a not a typical industrial kitchen filled with rows of stoves, pans, etc. Sisters Paola and Simonetta host people in their beautiful country home for a day of cooking, learning, eating and fun. We had hoped to be taking the class alone, but we were joined by sisters from Australia, who only added to the enjoyment. We spent the entire morning making a four-course meal, and then sat down for a two-hour lunch to enjoy the fruits of our labor. It was a truly special day.

The rest of our time in Chianti was spent eating and drinking more. We visited a few vineyards, including Castello di Ama, which we discovered on a PBS show about Italy. It’s a unique vinyard, in that the owners are also modern and contemporary art enthusiasts. They commission artists to do installations tailored for specific spots throughout the vineyard. After the tour and tasting, where we had some fun talking Donald Trump and Silvio Berlusconi, we had a lunch that did not disappoint.

Florence

We departed Chianti for a short drive to Florence, ditching the rental car for good. While we loved our rural getaways, we were both craving some city life. I’ve never been to Florence, and I found most of the superlatives people use to describe it to be fitting. It was walkable, picaresque, welcoming and enchanting. Highlights were climbing the Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sunset, eating brain-meltingly good tripe and sharing way too much wine with some Canadians (uncomfortable encounter with a Neo-Nazi notwithstanding).

Turin

Fighting off hangovers just long enough to get to the train station, we headed back to Turin for our final two days. Unheralded as a destination compared to Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan, we found Turin to be our type of town. Bustling restaurant and bar scene, accessible and reliable public transit, lots of young people, walkable, and neat museums. We also stayed in a great apartment owned by a recently married couple who gave us some delicious chocolates as a wedding gift. Additionally, it’s the heart of the Piedmont, so were able to enjoy a little more Piemontese cuisine before heading back to France.

And, oh yeah, I got to go to a Juventus game. Luckily, Erin had fun too.

And now, back to the “real” world. Five stars out of five. Would go back.

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6 thoughts on “Honeymoon in Italy, Part 2: Tuscany & Back to Turin

  1. Emily C

    You went to a Juventus game?! Shhh, don’t tell Dionisio or he’ll be SO jealous! Who were they playing against?

    I loved reading this post and I’m so super happy you guys had such a marvelous time! It all looks so beautiful and the food looks incredible — especially the stuff you guys made with your own hands! I volunteer to eat some of your cooking if you ever find yourself with a surplus πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. aleonatti

      They played Frosinone Calcio. It’s their first ever year in Serie A. They tied the game late and their fans went bananas because it was their first ever point. I was happy to be there, but Juve fans were pissed. The tram ride back to our apartment was crowded and dead silent. They’re a little overdramatic, I think πŸ™‚

      Like

      1. Emily C

        Ah, okay! I remember that match, mostly because the name “Frosninone” struck me as hilarious (sounds like Super Mario’s snowman sidekick), but also because of the drama in my own house that day πŸ˜‰

        Like

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