Italy: Day Nine

Today, we had our pre-booked bus tour of Tuscany. We boarded our bus at 8:30 this morning in Florence and our driver, Fabio (!!!) zoomed us straight to Siena, while our tour guide, Agata, told us some junk about the area. When we got there, we met a local tour guide named Donatella, who was a real bitch. She led us around Siena a bit and the we got about a half an hour to explore on our own before meeting back up with the group. I took this opportunity to get a gelato, even though it was like 11 in the morning.
From Siena, we continued on to Fattoria Poggio Alloro - an organic farm and vineyard just outside San Gimignano. They showed us through the wine house and then through the barn where I took the opportunity to touch a cow. An organic one. As I was scratching its chin and it licked my wrist with its BLUE TONGUE, I felt sort of sad that it would end up being a delicious organic steak someday. Covered with cow spit, we then headed up to this gorgeous veranda for lunch and wine tasting. At this farm, they make wine, olive oil, vegetables, cereals, pasta, honey and saffron. And they also raise rabbits, chickens, guinea-hens, pigs and the lovely blue-tongued cows, which were called Chianina. The lunch was completely incredible. First we had toasted Italian bread with olive oil from the farm. The organic whole wheat pasta with meat sauce (I assume made of the lovely cows we met) was the best pasta I have ever had. And after that we got tasty salad and dried meats and cheeses. I had not tried any of the Italian meats yet since we got here, and I must say, I should have. So yummy. We also got to "sample" (and by sample, I mean get completed sauced on) three different wines and grappa. The wines were all fantastic, but the grappa... Yeuch!
A much louder and jollier group, we reboarded the bus for the quick drive to San Gimignano. This town was very very cute. And they happened to have a gelato shop that is supposedly the world champion of gelato... So I figured having a second one was necessary. You know. So I could say I had the best. And it was awesome! We had a little time to wander around this town on our own as well, so I stocked up on postcards and silly little souvenirs. And then it was back onto the bus for the hour and twenty minute scenic route to Pisa.
Obviously, we climbed the five hundred and something steps to the top of the leaning tower. Not one for heights, I was feeling a little sketched out up on top of that thing, but it was sunset and just beautiful and I could not clutch the ruling with a death grip AND take photos, so I nutted up, let go, and snapped some pretty pictures. And then hurried back down those stairs as fast as my bunk knee would allow.
After Pisa, we just came back to Florence and now here we sit at the hotel. I am completely pooped. But god... I absolutely LOVED Tuscany. If I ever come back to Italy, the only time I spend in any of the cities will be arriving in them before heading out to the countryside. I love it. I cannot think of any place that I have ever seen that is more beautiful. I loved the food. The views. The cows. The wines. The gelatos. The trees. All of it. If I had the money, I would happily move out to somewhere in that area in a heartbeat.
Anyhow. I would say that today was by far my favorite day of the trip. Love love love.
And with that, good night. Xxo, Phoebe

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