I am back with another recap from my almost 3 weeks in Europe. Today is all about Tuscany! We were able to see 4 different hill towns in Tuscany and Umbria, including San Gimignano, Siena, Montepulciano, and Orvieto.
In case you missed it:
- Europe Trip Part 1 – Paris
- Europe Trip Part 2 – Amsterdam
- Europe Trip Part 3 – Venice
- Europe Trip Part 4 – Florence
- Europe Trip Part 5 – Cinque Terre & Pisa
We rented a car for a few days so we could drive through the hill towns of Tuscany. First up on our list was San Gimignano, which we call San G.
San G. was the first stop in our Tuscany experience, which may be why it ended up being one of our favorites. It was a quaint town in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany.
We ate lunch in San G. at Dolcis in Fundo Ristorante, where we were able to sit outside and look out over the countryside. Of course we had wine because… when in Tuscany!
My aunt got an appetizer with saffron in it that was like shepherd’s pie and that she rated as one of her top 5 dishes of all time!
I was impressed with my standing pasta and my cousin’s standing caprese salad.
Then we got gelato at the Rick Steves’ recommended gelato place, Gelateria Dondoli, which has won the Gelato World Cup.
We walked around town (and got lost) until we found a tower to climb to get some good views of the city.
Afterwards, we hit the road for Siena. We got to the Hotel Porta Romana and checked in and got a great view of the countryside.
From the hotel, we walked into the city. My cousin and I climbed the Bell Tower for more awesome views of the countryside.
Then we ate dinner at one of the restaurants in the Il Campo red-brick square right by the City Tower.
I just loved the cuteness of the Tuscany hill towns.
We stayed the night in Siena and the next morning, we loaded up the car and drove to Montepulciano, where Under the Tuscan Sun and Twilight New Moon were filmed. We climbed (again) to the top of a bell tower that was featured in Twilight New Moon.
We walked around the town and stopped and had pizza by the slice and ate it on a bench outside. The city is so hilly that the bench needed extra support.
Again, the cuteness of Tuscany is spectacular.
And the views of the countryside are incredible.
Then we went through an underground wine cellar for free and did some wine and cheese tasting.
And for our last stop, we drove to Orvieto, which is in Umbria. We took the funicular (tram) to the top of the city and walked around.
We saw the beautiful Cathedral…
And then we found a bell tower to climb for some more views.
The bell in the tower actually rang while we were up at the top and scared the crap out of us!
Then we made it back to the funicular with 2 minutes to spare before our 90 minute ticket expired. Then we turned the rental car back in and took the train to Rome.
Stay tuned as next we head to Rome!