We left Cinque Terre by train and headed to La Spezia where we picked up our rental car and started our drive to Florence. On the way we stopped in Pisa for the not to be missed photo ops!
After walking around the Piazza dei Miracoli and snapping our photos we had a quick dinner of Pizza (in Pisa!) and continued on to Florence where we were staying at the Hotel River, a wonderful boutique hotel right on the Arno.
We thought our room was just gorgeous and huge and the people working the desk at the Hotel River over the top nice- turns out they thought it was our honeymoon and had booked us in the suite with a balcony and view of the river!
We stayed in Florence for about 5 days and saw many, but not all, of the wonderful museums, buildings, cathedrals, etc. And of course we ate some amazing meals! We spent one whole day driving the entire road around Chianti- it goes from Florence to Sienna. This was soooo beautiful. The vineyards and hundreds of villages that dotted the landscape were exactly as we had imagined it. We stopped at the winery Fontodi and also shopped for wine at a fabulous little wine shop in one of the villages, seems most wineries don't sell their wine direct. And yes of course we had a case shipped home!
We had the most amazing lunch at Badia a Coltibuono which is an old monastery on top of a hill outside of Gaiole. They are a working winery and inn. After lunch we continued on to Sienna- wow!! Next time we head to Italy we are staying in Sienna for a few days, it was beautiful!!
We explored the cathedral and the old town then stopped for a much needed gelato in the famous Campo. Sienna is just an amazing town of twisty lanes, brick buildings, hills and alleys!
The drive around Chianti is a bit white knuckled at times- very twisty and lots of blind curves. Dayne did a fantastic job (as I had lost my driver's license before the trip) and so did our little Renault Mégane which we drove all over for over a week on 1 tank of gas!!!
Upon leaving Florence we drove up to the hilltop town of Fiesole for some stunning views and small town charm.
You can see all the photos from Pisa, Florence, Chiati & Sienna here!