Florence – Day 3 (Under the Tuscan Sun.. but with much better reviews)

So Florence Day 1 had been incredible and Day 2 was even better , what did Day 3 have in store for us? We were told to wear something that would be comfortable when riding bikes (note to self : white pants and bike grease are not a friendly duo). After breakfast, we set off on foot towards our destination, Tuscany Bike Tours. We walked along the river Arno, crossing over at Ponte Alle Grazie. Along the way we saw some beautiful little shops selling scarves and clothes and all kinds of pretty things. I got a chance to talk with Leela, my walking buddy about what brought us to this point in our lives. Leela is such a free spirit, so humble and generous with her knowledge and her story of growing up east coast-west coast was so fascinating to me. I think sometimes we tend to focus on all the things that make us different from our fellow human beings, but more often than not, we have a lot in common.

Once we got to Tuscany Bike Tours, we were assigned to a group (some were on bikes, some were on vespas) and we loaded up into a van and headed into Tuscan country, the sides of the roads dotted with red poppies, like a picture perfect postcard. A 30 minute drive later we were at  Castlello di Poppiano, a 12th century castle that has belonged to the Guicciardini family for over 900 years.

The Tuscany Bike Tours guides, Lorenzo, Alessio & Keith, were not only full of knowledge but funny as all get out and not too bad to look at. hehe. Their motto is ‘Put the fun between your legs’. Enough said. You can catch up on their activities on their Facebook page.

First we toured the castle, making our way all the way to the top to see the incredible vistas of the Tuscan countryside.

In the courtyard..

On our way upstairs… yeah, i could live with that view if this was my home.. err castle.

There were tons and tons of wine barrels..the Castle Poppiano makes over 800,000 bottles of wine and lots of olive oil every year.

Once we were back down again in the courtyard, we got to taste some of the wine and olive oil. I just took a couple of sips because wine makes me tipsy and I knew we had a bike ride ahead of us!

The courtyard was so pretty..

After the tour and the wine tasting, it was time to get our bikes and helmets, get a quick safety course and go for a bike ride down into the village where we would have our lunch. Lunch and the scenic views was good motivation and the weather was pretty much perfect.

After lunch at this quaint restaurant (where our tour guides suddenly became expert order-takers and servers!), we were given the option to take the van back up to the castle, because some of those hills were steep. Most of us took the van option after seeing the hill. 

Leela was the only one in our group who came all the way up that hill. Go Leela!

Back to the castle we went and we waited near there till the transportation was figured out. Can you imagine this as your backyard?

All of us got back into the van and made our way back to Firenze, tired but so happy. What an incredible experience…highly recommend. I could do it over and over again. I spotted this sweet elderly couple from the van, and then on our walk back to the hotel.. another elderly couple. 

Some of the ladies went shopping after the bike tour, but my cousin and I headed back to the hotel to rest a while. We had a free evening that day and so we took a little siesta before getting ready for dinner out together. Before heading out for dinner, we met the ladies (and a couple of Bianca’s fabulous friends) for prosseco on the logia. Cell phone photos follow.

I loved the Piazza Santo Spirito in the evenings. The market was over and it was quiet before the night activities began.

Lucky for us right across the Piazza was a fantastic restaurant, where we had had lunch on Day 1. We headed there, to Osteria Santo Spirito again. You can see the twinkling lights of the restaurant below.

My cousin makes friends really easily, and before the night was over we had met a couple from Kentucky and two best friends from Canada on the tables next to us… soon they (and a couple of bottles of wine) were heading to the hotel with us where we chatted the night away in the loggia. Ahh… another perfect perfect day in Florence. What would Day 4 bring?

xo, Rashmi

 

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