We are pleased to inform our thousands of followers that we have finished our Tuscan Road Trip without any more mechanical mishaps and are now safely parked-up in a parking spot on the edge of Florence.
Our plan was to explore classic Chianti countryside between Siena and Florence and maybe take-on board a cheeky white here and a Rip-Roaring Rumbustious Red there. Throw in some Pecorino to nibble on and we were set for another nosh-and-drive extravagance through one of Italy’s finest food producing regions. First stop off the rank for us was the Medieval Manhattan, San Gimignano.
There is convenient parking for Motorhomes a couple of Klicks from the traffic-free town centre for €3 an hour which includes a shuttle bus to and from the town centre. To be fair, if we had more time then we may of considered staying the night as the Sosta looked rather inviting. Cities and one’s impression of them are a bit like love, the first sight is so, so, important. Unfortunately ‘Chimi’ is not going to be going up any aisle holding my arm anytime soon. It is Mont St Michael ‘Deja-Vu’ time. The main street leading into to the centre is a ribbon of tat shops selling the ubiquitous selection of china, wine and fridge magnets. The produce on offer is slightly better quality than its French counterpart but it is still rubbish. We bought a ceramic bowl.
The town supports 15 towers built by well-healed locals at a time when the height of your tower was a show of your wealth and power. At one time there were 72 such towers before the plague wiped out much of the population and thus ending one of the most obvious willy-waving competitions in European history. I am surprised that Mr Putin and his Russian oligarch chums have not resurrected the sport.
The town is also spoiled by allowing a very low-rent market to take over the squares on most days of the working week. It totally ruins the place and it leaves no decent spot to admire the streetscapes. We finished our short visit with a trip up to the castle for the views which were spoiled a bit by poor light. Would we go back? Probably not, it is way too touristy. We also bought a bottle of the local white wine that they make a bit of a fuss over. Too much like Chardonnay for us. We didn’t buy a second. Pictures.
Towers from the Castle
After leaving ‘Chimi’ we got back on the Chianti trail and opted for the less travelled SP2 bis road over the more known SR222 for our trip. The first town we cruised through the industrial town of Poggibonsi where it appears that every Italian Motorhome manufacturer seems to have a plant and by the looks of it do not seem too successful in selling them. We saw field after field of Roller teams, Rimors and others lying about.
Our drive then took us through Castellina, Radda and Greve in Chianti. The first thing to point out is this is not classic Tuscany countryside as seen South of Siena. This is far more rugged and far more industrialised with nearly every inch of slope given over to Wine Production. At this time of year with no vegetation on the vines the scenery was not at its best. It was quite stark to be honest. Secondly, we wanted to stop and try a few drops of the red stuff but were thwarted by dirt tracks leading to the wineries.
So we just drove around, stopping a bit here and a bit there until we got to Castello di Verrazzanno where we sampled and bought some bottles of Chianti Classico. And very good it is too. Pictures of our trip.
Near Radda in Chianti
Greve in Chianti
We pulled into Florence in the early evening which allowed us enough time to strike up a Barbie. Excellent.
Love to All