Tuscany | Unbottled Jeanne’s Travels

STAY:

Greve in Chianti, Italy

SIGHTSEEING + EXPLORING:

Florence

Greve in Chianti

Panzano in Chianti


Azienda Agricola Terre Di Melazzano | vineyard with winery 

Small group cooking class

Mercato Centrale di Firenze | HUGE market in Florence

Piazza Matteotti | main Piazza of Greve

EAT + DRINK:

Gelateria da Lorenzo | best gelato from our trip in Tuscany and Rome

Enoteca Ristorante il Gallo Nero | fantastic pasta

Osteria Mangiando | outside seating with view of the piazza in Greve

Pasticceria | our favorite cafe in Greve

Emmegierre Srl | AMAZING pizza

It was quite the trek to get from Athens to our home for the next 5 days in the heart of Tuscany. We flew from the Athens International Airport to Fiumicino Airport (in Rome) and then took a bus to Roma Termini (main train station in Rome). We had about an hour before our scheduled train ride, so we grabbed some lunch and a couple of glasses of wine before hopping on the train to the station in Florence, Santa Maria Novella.

Once we were in Florence, we walked a few blocks to the rental car office (Budget) to pick up our rental and then made the one hour drive in Chianti. 

After a day of planes, trains, and automobiles, I cannot explain the amazement I felt as we drove down the driveway to our AirBNB. Photos don’t do the Tuscan region any justice. It was so breathtaking that I started crying in the car because my sense were so overwhelmed. Then, I cried again as we were checked in and our gracious host gave us espresso. 

Day 1:

After checking in, we freshened up and went right out to explore the little town that would be our home for the next 5 days. We parked in the Greve carpark and walked to the market for groceries. Our AirBNB was about a 4-5 minute drive from the center of town, so we took our groceries there and went back out for pizza.

After dinner, we were beat from the day and spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our little villa. It was perfectly country and relaxing. There was no air conditioning or real t.v. and that was completely okay with us. We had plenty of ways to occupy our time in the most romantic place imaginable. 

We were on the second floor, so we slept with the windows open and had a cooling breeze all night. It was the best we had slept since leaving home a week before and I was the most relaxed I have ever been in my life. 

Day 2:

The next day, we woke up refreshed with bright eyes and bushy tails ready to go to our cooking class in Florence! We booked it through viator like our sailing trip in Mykonos and were just as happy with this experience as we were with that trip. 

After meeting at the designated location, our guide took us to the central market in Florence, Centrale Mercato. We got to see all of the bright colors of the produce and the hand-crafter productsand learn all about the food from the Tuscan region. Each region in Italy is known for different cheeses, meats, and wine. Pecorino (cheese from sheep) and Chianti wine (duh!) top my Tuscan list of favorites.

After our tour, we were finally ready to get to cookin’! We walkled from the market to the kitchen location where we learned about the style of bolognese that is cooked in the Tuscan region. Just like cheese and wines, different regions are known for different styles of the same sauce.

We made the noodles from scratch with two ingredients: egg and flour. Who knew it could be that simple?! After mixing, rolling, letting it settle, rolling more, and cutting, we were ready to make it look like actual pasta. 

While we waited for the noodles and ravioli, we drank chianti and snacked on some pecorino with a red wine glaze and bread with truffle oil. Have I mentioned that I like cheese and wine? It is definitely the way to my heart. 

When you plan your trip to Italy, my biggest recommendation is that you HAVE to take a cooking class. We learned a lot about the food and culture of that region while getting to eat and drink. BONUS: this was the best meal we had in Tuscany. 

Day 3: 

On day 3, we rested. At this point, we had been gone for 10 days and wanted to enjoy some time on the vineyard and in the little town. We had breakfast in Greve then headed back to our villa. 

We spent the afternoon hanging out by the pool and drinking some wine made from the vineyard we were staying on. Oh and we took some naps…lots of naps. What a rough Tuscan life, right?

After another nap, we freshened up and ventured out in search of dinner. Surviving off of cheese and bread is nice for a few hours, but then it is time for pasta. The heart wants what the heart wants, right? 

Day 4:

After relaxing and recovering the day before, we were ready to explore some more again! The weather forecast called for some rain that afternoon, so we decided to grab some breakfast and then head to the closest village to Greve – Panzano in Chianti. 

Panzano is a Tuscan hilltop town with narrow, quaint streets in the most historic section of it. We spent a couple of hours walking around just looking at the architecture and observing everything we could.

The best part of our time in Panzano was when we saw a chicken escape his yard and walk across the road. An elderly lady saw him and picked him up and walked him back across the road. A car stopped to let her pass like it was the most normal thing that could happen. The lady walked away and then we saw him escape again!

This brought up the question of why the chicken crosses the road. And I decided that the answer is that it is none of our business. The little dude is just triyng to live his best life.

After coming back from Panzano, we took a nap while it rained for a little bit and then spent some time exploring the vineyard. We walked the rows of grape vines and olive trees while dreaming of staying there forever.

That evening, we had a wine tasting scheduled for 5 o’clock at the winery right by our villa. I am a vegetarian, so when we scheduled it the day before, I asked if they could accommodate the pairings. Let me tell ya, they went above and beyond!

The pictures above are from the different courses and this entire thing was only 17E per person! Whaaat?! 

As you can tell from the selfie at the end, we were very happy after filling our bellies with their delicious food and wines.  

Day 5:

After four nights in Greve, it was time to move on to the last leg of our trip. Leaving was hard, but we were excited to start the next adventure. So, we checked out, got our last breakfast in Greve, and then headed back to Florence for our departure. Right then, we started planning on return because we knew we had to go back. So, summer 2020 we will see ya again Greve!

Next up: Rome! 

Tips:

  • Take a cooking class!
  • Do at least one wine tasting that has food pairings.
  • The market and restaurants in Greve are only open at certain times, so pay attention to those. 
  • Get a rental car so you can explore the area. Learn all about the limited traffic zones in Florence (ZTL) and make sure you have an international driving permit (basically a booklet with international translations of our license).
  • Get your train tickets beforehand online so it takes out the guess work.
  • You can download areas on Google maps to use on your phone even when you are offline. This was a life saver in a lot of areas where we had poor mobile data speeds.
  • Most banks charge international fees to use your debit cards, but not credit cards. Check out your policies to make sure you aren’t spending more than necessary when you swipe!

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