For me nothing compares to Italy. I love the sites and tastes that a trip to this beautiful country offers and have been extremely fortunate to visit on three separate occasions. Our last trip was in October for a 10 day honeymoon with stays in Venice, San Gimignano in Tuscany, and Rome-my favorite city. Below is a photo journal of some of the wines, food, and scenery we enjoyed.
First stop Venice. We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Ai Cavalieri Di Venezia.
For a very romantic dinner we went to Alle Corone at the sister hotel Hotel Ai Reali where you watch the gondolas go by your window amid candlelight. We chose a Tedeshi Amarone della Valpolicella to accompany our meal. It was perfect with my porcini mushroom risotto.
One of the best places to relax and enjoy the view of the Grand Canal is the rooftop bar of the Hotel Danieli. After an afternoon of wandering Venice we rested our feet here with champagne cocktails while watching the gondolas, water taxis, and cruise ships glide by.
Our next stop was Tuscany. We fell in love with San Gimignano on a cruise in 2014 and vowed we would go back. We didn’t wait long as we made this our home base while we drove around the Tuscan countryside visiting Sienna, Florence, Lucca, and Pisa. While walking around San Gimignano you feel like you have been thrown back into Medieval times.
For me this is the most authentic old city in Tuscany and it has the most incredible views with vines and olive trees as far as the eyes can see. We stayed at Hotel La Cisterna which is conveniently located in the main square and has balconies with breathtaking views perfect for enjoying a glass of wine.
Next door to our hotel is a quaint wine bar Enoteca DiVinorum with outdoor tables facing the view.
A platter of local meats and cheeses and Tuscan red wine made the perfect pre dinner snack.
Exploring the quiet side streets in San Gimignano both during the day and night you can find many excellent places to eat. Our favorite restaurant was La Mangiatoia. We loved this place so much we ate here two nights. The food was outstanding and the atmosphere is cozy and very romantic. Our second time we had a Col d’Orcia Brunello Di Montalcino.
Another great find for lunch was La Vecchia Nicchia.
Here we had yet another meat platter and Tuscan ribollita soup paired with glasses of Chianti. Their ribollita was the best I have had!
No afternoon would be complete without a trip to the Vernaccia di San Gimignano museum for a flight of these local white wines.
Wine tastings are a must when traveling here. I was lucky enough to find My Tuscan Wine Tours run by Marialuisa Cesani and book a Brunello tasting tour in Montalcino.
Our first stop was La Fornace which is now a new favorite of mine. It’s a small production, family winery run by Fabio Giannetti.
We tasted three different vintages of Brunello di Montalcino here and they were all absolutely fantastic. I am kicking myself that I only bought half a case!
After the first winery we had a wonderful lunch at Trattoria Il Leccio paired with several bottles of their local house wine.
Our second winery visit was Tenuta Fanti.
Here we sampled their Sassomagno, Rosso di Montalcino, and Brunello di Montalcino.
I highly recommend renting a car while in Tuscany as there is nothing like winding your way through the Chianti region where the views look like this:
And then it was on to Roma. We love to stay at Hotel Barocco which is extremely convenient to all the sites we want to see and has hands down the best hotel breakfast in Italy! Below a view of the Forum:
One of my favorite afternoons was spent relaxing by the Pantheon at Albergo del Senato with appetizers and glasses of prosecco.
Our last day was sunny and warm. We had pizza and Rosé from Castellina in Chianti at Obicà in Campo del Fiori.
We have been so fortunate to have made such wonderful memories in Italia. The culture, history, food, and wine make for amazing experiences.
Until next time-Arrivederci!