Author: Yellow Duckie
There is only one recommendation when you are in Tuscany, stay at the farmhouse, get a car and conquer the scenic routes ( the road map will indicate which are the scenic routes) There is definitely no better way to see Tuscany than this. Don’t worry about spending a couple of nights at the farmhouse, I can guarantee that you will not end up staying in the stable or the barn. I would say this is the most luxury place I’ve stay thus far in Italy!

Our stop in Tuscany was Siena. Leaving our luggage at the station, I walked all the way from the train station to get our car in the city. From the map, it doesn’t look that far and thank God in reality it’s only about 1.5 km. I was fascinated as I enter the city. This city is walled within a fort. It feels like you’ll walking into one of the gated medieval town! Impressive!

My next challenge was to locate our farmhouse, Il Lucherino. By far, I had no problem locating any place in Italy but Il Lucherino is so hidden that after a while, we begin to get a little worried (yes, even with the map at hand) if we could find it at all as no one we asked could tell us where it is. Somehow, God was gracious, we managed to bum into it by accident and it was so well hidden that for those we are seeking for a solitary holiday away from the hustle bustle of city life, this place is perfecto.

We conquered both the Northern region ( Il Chianti), Southeast region ( Le Crete) all the way down to Saturnia (famous terme bath)

While you are on the road:
1. Make pit stops anyway
Be sure it’s a safe spot before you do that, there are many road with additional curve in space for you to do that, so make your pit stop wisely. You’ll find vast field of vineyards and olive farm revealing itself gracefully before your eyes ( Il Chianti region). It was so serene. The blue sky and white clouds above us just compliment the scenery with a perfect touch. Heading towards southeast of Siena (Le Crete region), you will see vast green rolling hills. The pastures looks almost like crème has been pour unto the hills beyond and the view is simply magnificent. It is as though there is no end to these green hills and the road we drove on seems to cut right through these hills. I was in awe. Most of these were only captured in my head and not on my camera.

2. Visit some of the olive farms
Make pit stops at the olive farm to check out their products. One thing I regretted most not buying is the Olive oil which gives you a pinch of pear after taste. It was the most delicious Virgin olive oil I’ve ever tasted!

3. Take time to enjoy your farmhouse
Usually the farm house area is situation in the midst of the olive farm or vine yard and they have facilities for you to enjoy the scenery of the area. The one we stayed in even has a swimming pool. It overlooks the vine yard at one end and the rolling fields at the other. The farmhouse is usually equipped with a complete kitchen so cooking is possible here and it is a cheaper way to dine here. For Euro 30, we managed to cook up 5 hearty meals!

Sunset at Il Lucherino

4. Visit the tiny towns along the way
I can’t recall how many town we’ve come across but the ultimately goal was to visit Montepulciano and Saturnia. Our first pit stop was in Asciano. It’s a small quiet hamlet town. Walking on the tiny lanes that leads to the main street was awfully still. Stepping into the town feels makes you feel like you have traveled back in time and anytime you will expect to see a horse pulling a cart with an Italian dressed in their medieval clothes greeting you from his cart.

The drive along the scenic route is full of surprises. It’s like you’ll never know what you will see. You will pass through vast open field with lots of flowers, green pastures, and even drive through a small town (literally through the town). Hardly recall most of it, we did pass by Pienza, Trianni, etc.

Montepulciano is another hill town. Although after Perugia, this shouldn’t be something new to us but I still find it fascinating. Smaller than Perugia, Montepulciano guarded by the Etruscan fort and is set atop a narrow volcanic rock. Driving up in my tiny Fiat Panda was quite a challenge but big cars will find it difficult to go through the narrow lanes, so it’s your choice to go with. Word of advise, go with the smaller car as you can never imagine how small the lows can be…really small. This town offers a magnificent view of the countryside beneath.

5. Relax at a thermal bath spot
Here in Tuscany, it is famous for their natural thermal water bath and usually it is in the nature open for public use. Of course, if you are up for a luxury treatment at a 5-star thermal spa hotel, there are endless list of hotels for your selection, else, there are a lot of natural thermal pool which allows you to enjoy the benefit of the thermal water without any charges. Our choice was Saturnia and it did took us quite a while before we get there. The temperature of the water hangs around 40 degrees Celsius and the volcanic formation of the pool is interesting, creating a cascading waterfall with tiny private pools for dip.

Our last stop in Tuscany was of course, Siena. I have nothing much to comment about Sienna as it has basically what most of the Italian town I’ve been to has so this is nothing new. There are only two things I would highlight about Siena:
1. Piazza Del Campo.
This piazza is in a giant scallop shape and not to forget it is slanting too. It’s huge and will take a while before you notice that it’s in a shape of a scallop.
2. Tratorria La Torre
This is a family-run tratorria with only about 10 tables and a vaulted cellar. The chairs and table set up outside is interestingly secured in the slating lanes. Just imagine putting chairs and table on the streets of San Francisco and have them secure steadfastly to hold the weight of man. The food there is excellent and don’t bother turning up without reservation or turn up early and convince them that you are Asian and you will consume your dinner in 15 minutes. They did not allow us to take up the space even though we turned up at 7.30pm and they had a reservation for the table for 9 pm. We did however managed to convinced them that we will swallow our food and leave before 9.

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