On my travels around the world I have been lucky enough to visit Italy several times, however until a recent trip I still hadn’t spent much time in the alluring and highly romanticized region of Tuscany. While on this trip through Italy I was mostly in the Gargano area and at the end of my time in the country I had roughly five nights to spend in Rome so I figured it would be a great time to take a day trip to Tuscany and learn a little bit more about the Tuscan hills, foods, wines and more.
A wonderful place to enjoy the sun and the view in Pienza, Italy overlooking the hills of Tuscany
Conveniently one of my favourite tour companies in the world also do a fabulous day trip from Rome to parts of the Tuscan region, so for a day I hopped onboard the Walks of Italy – Tuscan Hilltowns, Castles and Vineyards day tour from Rome.
Marta my tour guide and I discuss cheeses
The tour was just a small group of 8 or 10 people and we had a small private luxury bus to tour us around the region for the day, lead by our wonderful tour guide Marta. Marta was extremely knowledgeable and fully bilingual with English and Italian. As you can see in my video, she is also MUCH better than I was at pronouncing Italian words.
After a roughly two hour scenic drive from Rome we arrived in our first hillside town of Monticello known for its gorgeous views. Unfortunately for us however there was a bunch of rain and fog that impeded us from seeing the Tuscan hills as far as the eye could see, however we crossed our fingers and by the next stop in Pienza the rain was all but gone.
In Pienza we stopped in at a local pottery shop and learned of secret passageways that go under the town. We strolled the tiny streets and visited one shop in particular where we enjoyed a fair amount of pecorino cheeses, meats and other tasty fares.
Cheese selfie! I’m in my happy place!
We learned about the ageing process of the cheeses and how something as simple as the herbs and grass that the goats eat before being milked can affect the tastes of the cheeses. I myself fell in love with the truffle pecornio cheese. Honestly I fall in love with anything that involves truffles. So much so that I bought a whole wheel of it home to enjoy. They vacuumed sealed it for me in the store and it was able to travel thankfully without requiring any refrigeration. After I got home with it, it didn’t last long…
Next stop, it was lunch time and we enjoyed a DELICIOUS meal at Podere Il Casale, with all of the fresh ingredients coming from it’s own farm and nearby local suppliers. On the property they also had an adorable truffle dog named Nina. I would have taken Nina home with me if I was allowed, then I would have all of the truffles in the world!
A delicious plate of antipasto to enjoy at lunchtime
A sampling of Podere Il Casale’s very own wine
Numerous fresh cheeses from the farm and surrounding areas to finish off the meal
We might of detoured when leaving to sample the grapes on the vine
After we digested with this gorgeous view from Podere Il Casale we hit the road again for our two last stops to visit a castle and to visit a vineyard which also happened to be the home of Brunello red wine.
On top of the walls of La Fortezza Di Montalcino
As the day went on I quickly learned that Tuscany is literally filled with gorgeous views everywhere you look and the views from the top of the castle La Fortezza Di Montalcino were some of the very best.
Our last stop of the day was at the Poggio Rubino Winery Montalcino where they make several delicious wines including Brunello. Brunello is made with the Sangiovese grape which is grown all over the world however only the wines made with the grapes grown on the hills of Montalcino can be called Brunello. One of the owners toured us around the property explaining how the surrounding terroir gives the wines an extreme elegance in taste and then of course we got to sample a few for ourselves.
To say the least I think we all napped on the drive back to Rome.
To get a more in-depth look at the tour or to just see what a tour is like with Walks of Italy watch my video and please subscribe, it’s so easy to do!
I was hosted on this tour with Walks of Italy however like always all opinions and views expressed are my own.