FLORENCE | PART II

I’m am so excited to share this post with you guys as this was my favorite day we spent in Italy.  I had such a hard time narrowing down what pictures to share as there were so many that we took with so much charm to be captured.  This post is all about how to take a day trip from Florence & explore the scenic sights of the Tuscan countryside.

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_DSC0121^^THESE GUYS…<3 ONE OF MY FAVORITE PHOTOS FROM THE DAY. ^^_DSC0076

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TRANSPORTATION:

We traveled from Florence to Montepulciano & onto Pienza for our mini road trip.  Florence to Montepulciano is a 1.5 hour drive & from there to Pienza it’s 20 minutes!  There is the most picturesque scenery along the way including fields full of sunflowers, vineyards, & winding roads lined with cypress & olive trees.  This region is known as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Val d’Orcia, which changes from green to gold with different blooms throughout the year.  It was like we had transported to the Land of Oz!

There was an Avis located within walking distance from our AirBnb, in the heart of Florence.  I had reserved a car online before the trip to secure the best deal possible & to secure a vehicle in general.  When we arrived, there were many people being attended to & even with a reservation, we did not get on the road as soon as we had planned.  If you know me well, you know that I am a HUGE planner, HA, almost to a fault.  So, the wait somewhat worried me as I didn’t want to miss out on anything or feel rushed to return the car before Avis closed.  However!  The representative informed us that we could extend the reservation for a few more euros & return the car to the garage after hours.  Done & done.

So now that that was taken care of, we had to tackle the obstacles of navigating the Italian roads as well as abiding to their rules of the roads.  We found both to be fairly straight forward with a little teamwork & GPS, so definitely don’t let this intimidate you!  Italians drive on the same side as American’s, too. 😉  Two tips I do have for you though:

  • Be watchful for signs with a red ring as this means “restricted traffic zone” or essentially “do not enter”.  It’s so nice that all these cities have sections that are for pedestrians only but this can also be confusing for drivers unfamiliar with the area & you certainly don’t want to be fined!
  • The one thing that was frustrating & confusing for us personally were the gas stations so I would recommend you read up on the various ways to pump gas as we ended up wasting money & trying to seek advice from locals in Italian. 😛

SAMSUNG CSC ^^ PRETTY FLOWERING TREES & FIELDS FROM THE CAR WINDOW ^^
_DSC0099^^ VIEW LEAVING MONTEPULCIANO & HEADING TOWARDS PIENZA. A BEAUTIFUL OVERCAST DEVELOPED. ^^

FOOD:

Lunch. OMG. THE FOOD.  Please do yourself a favor & visit the rustic eatery, Osteria Acquacheta, if you’re ever in the Tuscan area.  We had lunch there & it was a completely transcendent experience.  To start, the restaurant is tucked away in the hilly cobblestone streets of the medieval town, Montepulciano, a town that is seemingly detached from the outside world.  We stepped inside to find a tiny dining area with family style seating.  The wait wasn’t long for a spot to open up & we were sat down at a table with what I gathered to be a group of locals.  A farm table lengths away, we could see large flames erupting from their old school brick oven & the butcher block where our meals were being prepared.  If you’re a vegetarian, be forewarned that this butcher block is sometimes occupied by what looks like the meat portion of an entire cow…shaped like cow…yikes!

Now onto the taste test.  The menus were handwritten on pieces of parchment paper & the options listed made making a decision overwhelming.  Did I mention that fact that everything listed was so CHEAP!?  The first thing that came was of course the wine which we had with everything in Italy.  Wine is inexpensive everywhere you go there & undoubtedly delicious.  Montepulciano is especially well-known for their red wine & their ‘pici’ pasta.  Therefore, I also ordered the pici pasta with pomodoro sauce & I highly recommend the pears baked in pecorino cheese, too.

This is the type of place where your wine glass is doubled as a water glass, the tab is written on your table cloth, & the butcher comes out to present each cut of meat either to have it approved or denied by you their guest.  Even if you don’t have the chance to make it to this exact restaurant, you’ll know you’ve had a traditional Italian dining experience if it’s anything like this.

_DSC0087^^ THE BOYS WERE OBSESSED WITH ESPRESSO SHOTS. ^^_DSC0086^^ STEAK FLORENTINE ^^SAMSUNG CSC^^ THE FRONT DISH IS THE PICI PASTA. ^^SAMSUNG CSC

Zazzeri Pienza.  Don’t miss a visit to this famous store in the town center for mouthwatering tastings of fresh local wines & cheese.

SITES:

Piazza Grande a Montepulciano. Here we visited The Cantina Contucci which used to be the city’s jail & was later converted into a wine cellar by The Contucci family who have made wine & owned vineyards for over 40 generations, or over 1000 years in the Montepulciano area. For any of you Twilight fans, this piazza is also one of the filming locations for New Moon.

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Piazza Pio II.  Such history & wonderfully preserved.  There is beautiful Renaissance & Gothic architecture within the piazza along with shopping, gelato (more on that later), & other attractions nearby.IMG_5714

Famous Rameria Mazzetti.  The most jaw-drop worthy copper pots & pans at this workshop. I wanted to go home with one of everything but unfortunately didn’t have the room or budget!  I fantasize about having a kitchen with copper, gold, rose gold accents someday & these handcrafted pieces were the most beautiful.  You can also purchase their items on their website, thank heavens!

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Ceramiche D’arte Barbieri Silvia.  This pottery store offers a wide variety of gorgeous handmade ceramic dishes .  I was most drawn to the sets with the lemon patterns. 🙂  

Chiesa del Gesù.  Step inside to view the beautiful white Baroque interior of this Montepulciano church established in the 1600s.

Duomo of Santa Maria dell’Assunta.  My absolute favorite part of this church was the massive triptych, Assumption of the Virgin, situated above the altar & painted in the 1400s.  The gold panels glowed unlike anything I’ve ever seen in the candle-lit space.

Il Duomo di Pienza.  We visited many churches this day but each were so unique from each other & well worth the time!  Be sure to visit this central structure of the city built by Pope Pius II.  The white marble structure & painted patterned ceilings were what I most admired about this one.

WEARING:

Lack of Color Hat
Maui Jim Sunglasses

Francesca’s Top
Kate Spade Wristlet
Forever 21 Skirt
Soludos Espadrilles

Overall I would say that each town is worth visiting as they both have completely different things to offer.  Have you ever been to Tuscany?  I’d love to hear about your favorite places you have visited there!

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7 Comments

  • Morgan

    Wow, what an amazing post! These photos are absolutely breathtaking… I really wish I could have been there for that meal 😉 Of course I’m loving the espadrilles too!!

    Morgan | http://www.monde-et-mode.com

    • inwisti

      Thanks, Morgan! I wish you could have been there with us, too. 😉

  • Eric Masters

    Great pictures! Florence/Tuscany was amazing, we will have to check out Montepulciano next time!

    • inwisti

      Thank you!! It really is spectacular. 🙂

  • Crystal

    Your write up and photos are like experiencing those areas of Europe all over again. For sure we will use you to be our future trip planner. C

    • inwisti

      I will plan a future trip for us any time!

  • Alexandra Smith

    This post is stunning and Im also loving your shoes!

    xoxo Ali

    https://alismithstyle.wordpress.com

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