Pisa, San Gimignano, Chianti, and Siena!

My first trip to Italy was the type of vacation where we had a lot of ambitious ideas for what we’d like to do, but got there having done so much at home that we ended up truly vacationing. Walking, drinking a lot of wine, eating a lot of food, and then drinking more wine….if it was too late for more caffe.

This time, we wanted to make sure we saw the things we didn’t get to see last time around! One of the main places on our list was San Gimignano in the Tuscan hills!

It turned out, I found this amazing tour for under  on Viator (you get $10 off with that link!), and it took us to Pisa, San Gimignano, stopped in Chianti Classico for lunch and wine tasting, and then to Siena to round out the day before heading back to Firenze.

As I mentioned before, I’m not too bougie to book a tour when it comes to traveling! It’s a great way to cover a lot of ground in a day, and to make sure you don’t miss the highlights!

Speaking of highlights, here is the best of this day tour through Tuscany!

Pisa

We started early in the morning at the Santa Maria Novella Train Station (and got there just in time to grab cappuccino and cornetto before the morning started), and boarded a double decker charter bus on our way to our first stop- Pisa! We were dropped off just outside of the famed Miracle Square, home to the Leaning Tower, church and duomo.

This part of Pisa doesn’t have much to see outside of the main square, which even early in the morning on an overcast day was full of people on the ground, in the air, and just all over the place trying to get their own tourist-y photo with the tower! Pisas beautiful historical center is a marvel with the detailed marble buildings and walkways!

San Gimignano

After we boarded the bus from Pisa, we started through the rolling hills of Tuscany toward San Gimignano.

On the way, our tour guide mentioned that the main piazza there had Gelateria Dondoli, famous for the Best Gelato in the World. I didn’t honestly hear much else after that….oh except something about the Great Pilgrimage, and how the rich built their homes up in tall towers so they could always see who was coming, and how of the 72 original towers, 14 are still there. Whoop, there it is.

San Gimignano is a very picturesque city…every street you take leads to an amazing photo opportunity, and there is an amazing white wine called Vernaccia that is specific to a type of grape only grown in this region! Of course, I bought some.

Also, yes we got gelato! I got organic strawberry and Zainab got a Saffron specialty flavor. Both were definitely amazing, but it’s hard to say the best in the world because all of the gelato in Italy kinda tastes like the best in the world…am I right?

Chianti Classico

Speaking of wine! After heading out of San Gimignano, we headed to Chianti Classico to the Casa Frassi Winery for wine tasting and lunch.

I cannot stress to you how much I love this place. From the moment we pulled in, it was the enchanting scene you dream about when you dream of a winery in Tuscany. The owner walked us through three of his wines as we overlooked the ever-rolling hillside, and then we went into what used to be a monastery (and is now the dining room) to enjoy a three course lunch. I snuck out of lunch a little early to buy some wine and olive oil to ship home, and took the opportunity to profess my love to him in the hopes that he’d let me move there and live happily ever after-which didn’t seem to woo him much. Lol.

Siena

Siena has some of the most breathtaking architecture I’ve ever seen. Grand churches and squares and even the banks are built with crazy details like heads carved into the trim of the building. This part of Italy is also very strict to this day on neighborhoods and family, and being born into your neighborhood. We actually were there on a “Bank Holiday” and got to see a parade, and all of the 14 flags/crests of each commune. It was pretty amazing!

Just before it was time to head home on the bus, we stopped at a cafe and had a coffee granita drink and it was the perfect end to a long day on our feet!

Monday Madness…As Usual!

Hello my loves!

So again, slackin’ on my blog mackin’, but I didn’t forget you!

Let’s start with an inspirational photo, shall we?

This is my mantra for this week! WOOO!

The past weeks have been full of shenanigans and I must admit, I’ve been pretty productive! I started a new position at work (in my own office), and I have been working as hard as possible to make the transition a smooth and efficient one for all parties involved. The car situation has been BEYOND stressful, but thanks to the amazing people in my life, I haven’t had to use public transportation once (what is that about? Seriously…when you’ve had a car, the bus is like the WORST thought ever. Lol). Sean and I attempted to install my newly purchased radiator Sunday, but we had a nightmare of a time just trying to get the plastic piece that shields the radiator off! So, we called it quits, and after a mild emotional freak-out, and Sean getting kinda crazy on me and telling me I need to calm the heck down, I contacted a friend who works on cars, and he is coming over tomorrow to fix Dulce so I can get her back on the road!

After that was all set,we headed to Temecula to two awesome wineries and went to Lucille’s BBQ for dinner. All in all, it was a lovely day. If you’re ever headed to Temecula, I strongly suggest hitting up Keyways Winery. Sean and I are big on sweet wines, Moscato especially, and Keyways has what is now our new favorite! You can check them out at KeywaysWine.com. They have live music and lunch on weekends in their gorgeous outdoor patio area. Our server, Tiffany, made the experience beyond enjoyable with her expertise, and her ability to tailor to our preferences. She also encouraged us to try new things out of our comfort zone, and we had a blast(along with just a bit too much wine, for this tiny-stomached individual). We also went to Wilson Creek Winery, after Alex told me about chocolate shot glasses with chocolate wine (DUH!), and while it was a bit too crowded for my taste, we did have a Chocolate Zinfindel that blew our minds, and Sean bought a bottle. I am very excited that we now have a bottle of Moscato and a bottle of chocolate dessert wine to add to our evenings in. Our last night in consisted of cheesy RedBox flicks, homemade baked ziti and garlic bread, and a red wine we weren’t crazy about! Moving on up? Definitely!

We have already planned our next Temecula wine tasting outing, and we will be heading to South Coast Winery first to do a sixty-minute winery tour that ends with a wine and cheese pairing. I am super excited! After that, we are heading to one of the other boutique wineries on the De Portola wine trail, and then driving to Laguna Beach to check out some art galleries, and eat a sunset dinner. June 23rd can’t get here fast enough!!

I managed to lose another pesky five lbs since the last post, and now officially just need to lose 30 more to hit my goal. For every 5 lbs lost, I will be rewarded with a new accessory from Forever 21. Sean is also starting his own weight loss journey, and for every 10 lbs he loses, he is putting $2o in his goal jar that I made for him.

Made from a 2 lb protein powder container, of course!

I know it looks a bit girly, but I sent him a photo, and he claimed to be excited…so I will take that! Clearly, he is a too-good-to-be-true boyfriend, but I don’t think he’d lie to me about that. Lol. I have volunteered to match his contributions when he hits goals, and the total will be put towards some additions to a new wardrobe for his handsome self! YAY!

I am so happy to have someone in my life that is not only one of my best friends, but someone that supports my every endeavor, and strives to make big moves in life with me. It’s something I never had before, and I can’t imagine life without it.

That is my recap for now. I totally skipped my 30 Day Challenge for May, but seeing as the scale wasn’t budging, you didn’t miss much. I won’t let June pass without one! 🙂 This will be another crazy month, what with work events, potentially taking on more work, making time for my relationship, and baby showers, bonfires, and more this month! Whew! But I will post at least weekly.

If you haven’t yet, please check out the guest post from Jillian McKee on the link between nutrition and cancer!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start. The year is already half over! CRAZY!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO