I went on a Tuscan tour with CiaoFlorence and was quite happy with them.
One big shout out to Valentina Nannini, who was pretty responsive. There’s nothing I appreciate more than timely and proper communications.
Brando was our tour leader that day, and I must say, he was quite enthusiastic and concerned about their reputation. It must be tiring to speak all day, every day, but he made sure to keep us informed.
This tour was one of the first tours I’ve done ever, so it was all new to me. We had to go in with their schedule – something that you may want to consider if you want to do things on your own pace.
I’d read a bit on how to go about exploring Florence, and while driving a car seemed like the best option, with a baby in tow, I somehow didn’t want to go through that hassle of renting a car, renting a car seat, and then one of us not drinking (because they’d have to drive).
So, I decided to go the tours route.
The tour departed in a timely way, and the place of meet up was communicated. It was from Piazza Adua in Florence, right outside Burger King.
Why I selected on this tour, you’d ask. I’d read and seen pictures of some places in Tuscany and shortlisted about nine or ten of them. Between this tour and the one next day, I was able to cover most of them, so I decided to do Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni and Chianti tour.
There’s wasn’t much of Chianti-seeing on this tour, to be honest – but the drive was beautiful.
Monteriggioni was a fortress, and the 45ish minutes we had there seemed enough for a quick look out.
Next up was Siena, whose town square was superb. Felt like a circular enclosure. A local tour guide gave us a quick tour of Siena. Their cathedral was quite charming.
It was a short tour and then, it was lunch time. The foodie that I am, and going the whole yard with dessert and all, it took away most of our time there, and we didn’t get a chance to go back to the town square (or circle) for more pictures. I could’ve done with more time there.
CiaoFlorence offered a lunch, not a part of the tour package, for an additional EUR 13 or so, for a complete course meal with wine, but we decided not to opt for it. You’ll get to read about my lunch in Siena on my restaurant blog – nycbonvivant.wordpress.com, when I get to it.
Next stop was a little winery called Lornano, in the town of Lornano, where we did some Chianti tasting and learnt some things about it – like a Chianti is all sangiovese grapes and that there’s no white Chianti.
I’ve been to quite a few tastings and this was the measliest of them all in terms of the pourings. The three that we tasted, the pourings for me didn’t even amount to half a glass. Not exaggerating.
But the person who showed us around there was quite enthusiastic. Loved her accent.
Brando was nice enough to lead us to a point where you got great views of the nearby towns and the green Tuscan valley. They also gave us coupons for trying some gelato here, which they said, is one of the best.
I’ll be honest – the gelato didn’t win me, but San Gimignano certainly did.
It was a big group and we travelled in a big coach bus. If you have enough time in Italy, I’d certainly recommend exploring these Tuscan towns!
Disclaimer: I did not pay for the tour, but the opinions expressed are my own.