One of my goals with this blog is to encourage and inspire all of us to travel more often and to embrace our adventurous spirit. Personally, I love hearing about other people’s trips and then making loose schedules for my own travels based on their experiences. So with that in mind, today I want to share one of my own stories with all of you.
A while back I traveled to Italy and one of our stops was Tuscany. All cities in this area are beautiful and charming, but if you are trying to enjoy the countryside and experience the wine you should not hesitate to rent a car and explore the breathtaking scenery that’s hidden between the little towns.
As you drive away from cities like Florence or Sienna, there will be many towns where you will find great wine and food. But there is a winery located in the corner of the Chianti countryside that I highly recommend visiting. Surrounded by elegant Italian gardens, Villa Vignamaggio is a winery with a lot of history and charm. Trust me when I say that it will captivate you as soon as you go through the entrance which is surrounded by Italian Cypress trees lined perfectly along the driveway (photo above).
View of Florence taken after we climbed hundreds of stairs in one of its church towers.
The history behind this villa is quite enchanting. Before the Gherardi family bought this villa in the 16th century, it belonged to the Gherardini family. In fact, Mona Lisa, the daughter of Anton Maria Gherardini, was born in Vignamaggion in 1479. It is said that the background in Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is almost exactly the view one can enjoy from the Villa’s terrace. Leonardo grew up just a few miles from Vignamaggio, which may explain the similarity between Vignamaggio’s landscape and the one on his masterpiece.
If you choose to do one of their guided tours and wine tastings you will get to try their most popular wines. Our tour guide was unpretentious and friendly which made the whole experience very enjoyable. They paired the wine with a selection of local cheeses, bread and cold meats that made me feel like I was in heaven. If you have time, I suggest you try their lunch or dinner. I didn’t get to taste it, but it looked incredible!
I wanted to add a few of the wine tasting’ photos I snapped with my phone, but, unfortunately, that phone is gone and with it those photos. So instead, I’ll share a few of my favorite images I found while browsing #vignamaggio on Instagram.
Things to know:
- Vignamaggio is one hour drive from Florence.
- If you decide to rent a car, remember that, in Italy, most cars are stick shift. Only rent a vehicle that you feel comfortable driving.
- If you are looking to spend the night in the Tuscan countryside, book your stay as early as possible to make sure you can find reasonably priced rooms. Places to stay seemed to be limited and quickly booked.
So what about you? Anybody has a great winery, restaurant or bakery that’s a must try in Tuscany? I’d love to hear!