When I was planning my trip through Italy, I wanted to include Tuscany. But as there never seems to enough time to see everything I want, I figured that I would just do Tuscany as a day trip from Florence. I kept hearing “You can’t do Tuscany in a day,” but I didn’t understand why. Florence is actually in Tuscany, so renting a car to drive around the countryside for a day and visit some pretty towns couldn’t be that difficult, right?
Driving around Florence is a nightmare — you’re actually not allowed to drive in the city center unless you have a special permit. Driving around Tuscany isn’t so easy either, as it’s all narrow, windy roads with hairpin turn after hairpin turn. However, the driving is not the reason why everyone says that you can’t do a day trip to Tuscany.
Our first stop was the town of Greve in Chianti, which is a nice place but not really that exciting. Then we stopped in a few other towns that fit that same description. The best part was the landscape and the pervasive sense of tranquility. It was the kind of place where you wanted to spend a week relaxing in a villa, enjoying long lunches and floating in the pool. To spend a day in the countryside of Tuscany was sort of missing the point. (Unless you were doing some serious wine-tasting complete with a chauffeur, which we weren’t.)
We did manage to have a fabulous lunch at La Bottega (pictured above) in Volpaia, thanks to another recommendation from Julie Gilley, who sent us to a bunch of great restaurants in Florence. The pasta there was incredible — I had one with truffles and my husband had the pesto. Whether you’re in Tuscany for a day, a week or a month, make sure to stop in at La Bottega.
Next stop… Siena.