On our fourth day of our trip, we headed from Rome to Florence via train! Since we had to travel for part of the day, we didn't do much our first day in Florence. We did book a tour to see the wineries in Tuscany in the afternoon and it was such a gorgeous area!
You can see my other Rome recaps below:
Rome, Day 1 recap HERE.
Rome, Day 2 recap HERE.
Rome, Day 3 recap HERE.
The train ride from Rome to Florence was pretty relaxing. We had a table, WiFi (which worked fairly well for parts of the trip) and they even brought by complimentary snacks and drinks!
Plaza Lucchesi Hotel
We arrived at our hotel, Plaza Lucchesi and I was in awe of the view from our room! The tower you see on the left is the Tower of San Niccolo, which was once part of a gate in the former defensive walls of Florence. The river flowing next to it is the Arno river.
We rested at the hotel for a bit and then ventured out for lunch near where we had to meet later for our Tuscany Wine Trail tour. We were craving Italian pizza and had caprese salad for an appetizer and I had a Margarita pizza at Mangia Pizza Firenze. This pizzeria was cozy and friendly. The pizza was a flatbread style.
After lunch, we had a little time to walk around before our tour. We saw the flowing chocolate wall at Venchi, which sells chocolates and gelato. I also thought this cooler with 'No Gas' and 'Gas' was humorous. :)
Tuscany Wine Trail Tour
Our travel agent booked us an afternoon wine tour of Tuscany and we took an air conditioned (haha- not really) van with some other couples and headed out to the winery. This was a 3 hour tour and we really enjoyed seeing the hilly and rural region of Tuscany. Here is a view from outside the first winery that we stopped at.
We visited the Chianti region in central Tuscany, Italy. We visited three wineries and all of them produced Chianti wine. Chianti wine used to be in a squat bottle with a straw basket around it. We visited the room where they had the wine in oak barrels during the fermentation or aging periods. The oak can also help vary the color, flavor and texture of wine.
You can easily spot a bottle of Chianti, because it will bare the Black Rooster logo on it. In order to be able to bare this Black Rooster logo, the producer must be a member of the Chianti Classico Consortium. For a wine to retain the name of Chianti, it must be produced with at least 80% Sangiovese grapes.
Here I am at the tasting table, my favorite place to be in Tuscany! Ha! I am trying the Chianti Classico here.
Some more photos of wine that was being fermented or stored.
We also got to visit a farm and I had to take a photo of this little farm kitten that came out.
The last winery we visited was my favorite! They even had a wine machine, it was sort of like a soda machine. You got a money card from the bar tender, put the card in the machine and told it how many oz of wine you wanted and which wine. You then put your glass under it and it poured you a glass! I thought I had taken a photo of it, but I must not have. Darn! I guess we'll have to go back.
We also ate dinner at this winery. I was starving! They had a buffet set up with bread, noodles, tomatoes, cheeses, pasta, etc. We also got another glass of wine!
After dinner, we got a little of time to walk around and explore the grounds of the winery.
Tuscany is such a beautiful place!
After our winery tour, we were a little tired and craving something sweet. So, while in Italy and when craving something sweet you get gelato, right?! I decided to try Nutella with a vanilla flavor. Yum!
On the walk back to our hotel, we saw the Ponte Vecchio, which is a covered bridge over the Arno river. We got to visit it the next day and there are a lot of jewelry shops and you really don't even realize you are on a bridge while walking over it. It's a popular tourist spot and heavily crowded!
A view of the Tower of San Niccolo on our walk back to the hotel.
Our hotel, Plaza Lucchesi has a roof top pool and bar with amazing views from the top!
They had a DJ playing music and a complimentary buffet! So, what did we do? We ate some more!
Meatballs apps and pudding for dessert! Yum!
We had such a good time at Florence and the Plaza Lucchesi was our favorite hotel while in Italy. I would definitely stay here again. Next Friday I will be sharing our second day in Florence. Stay tuned!