We woke up early the next day to head back to Florence for our last night in Italy. As we left the B&B, Mario presented us with a book on classic Tuscan cooking, so we could continue to practice back home.
We loaded up the car and headed towards Radda in Chianti. We were going to a winery called Montemaggio. When my husband called to see if we could do a tour, the manager warned him over the phone that the GPS could sometimes give incorrect directions and she offered to e-mail him directions too, just in case. When her e-mail arrived, my husband and I chuckled because they included the phrase” drive 3 kilometers through the forest on a dirt road.”
Well, she wasn’t kidding. It was the scariest 3 kilometers of our life. The bottom of our car scraped along tree roots and gravel and I prayed that we wouldn’t meet any cars coming back down the hill because there was no way we’d be able to pass each other – and no way for anyone to pull over, either. The treacherous drive was well worth it, though, because the views at the top of the mountain were amazing.
The winery manager showed us around the vineyard, the gardens, and the winery itself before taking us into a room to taste the wine and olive oil. We took a bottle of their chardonnay and a bottle of their Chianti classico with us, along with two tins of olive oil.
After that, we went to Castello d’Albola. We entered their tasting room and asked to do a tasting. While this winery definitely didn’t have the super modern or commercialized feel of the Antinori winery, it wasn’t very personal. The man who poured our wine would come to the table, tell us briefly about the wine, and then walk away. Sadly, we weren’t very impressed. But considering we had already shipped a case of wine and olive oil home and were going to attempt checking 6 more bottles in our luggage, we were ok.
We stopped for lunch in Radda at a place called “The Wine Restaurant.” I love risotto, and saw one in a chianti sauce on the menu. My husband ordered pasta with sausage and broccoli and I got the risotto. I was warned that it would take almost half an hour to make, and that was fine with us. We sat and enjoyed some wine in the meantime. And the wait was well worth it – the risotto came out a startling purple color from the wine, which looked rather odd, but it was amazing.
We got back to Florence and checked back into the same hotel (and room) where we stayed for our first night. My husband returned the rental car and I walked around. I mailed a postcard to our son and walked a few blocks by myself before getting a message that my husband had returned from the rental car place. We met up and cleaned up for dinner.
We set out to find a great rooftop bar to have our aperitivo. It took a couple of tries to find a place that was open/had a decent view/that the GPS could actually get us to correctly, but we finally ended up on the rooftop of a hotel called La Scaletta. We had a decent view of some of Florence, and if you climbed a small tower, you could see even more of the city and the duomo. We had a couple rounds of bellinis before venturing off to find dinner.
We wound up in the same neighborhood where we’d had pasta on our food tour the first night, and tried to get a table at a restaurant that our guide had pointed out. Only problem was that we hadn’t thought about getting reservations, and there was no way we were getting a table any time soon. We kept walking and looking up different restaurants on our phones, trying to find menus and directions.
We made it to the Grand Hotel Baglioni only to look at their menu and back away… I wasn’t sure about pasta with nettles or pigeon. We’re not the most adventurous eaters, but we’ll try new things occasionally, and I didn’t want our last meal in Florence to be a disappointment. We finally went to the Hotel Laurus al Duomo and grabbed a table on the corner of their rooftop terrace. We had a great view of the duomo, and sitting in the corner, it was like we were all by ourselves. We ordered a bottle of wine and a large antipasti tray – huge, in fact. We only got pasta dishes because there was no way we could eat a secondo as well. I had lasagna and my husband had tortelloni. Everything was delicious, and we sat there for well over two hours enjoying the view and each other’s company.
And despite being full… We had one last gelato on the way back to our hotel.
If you ever get the chance to go to Italy, even if it’s just for a few days, do it… And eat your heart out. It’s amazing.
Now, if you don’t mind me, I’m going to go look for a pasta machine on Amazon.
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