After a pretty tough week back in DC, we decided to head back to Europe and finish our year-long trip up as close to originally planned as possible, with two weeks in Europe. The three of us (me, Nick, and my mom) arrived back in Rome bright and early, and we showed her around all our favorite spots that we had discovered when we were there two weeks before.
The next morning, we took off with our rental car and headed toward the southern Tuscan coast (not before a tiramisu stop at Pompi– holy mascarpone it was good!). Our original plan was to go to Sardinia, where we would split our time between gorgeous beaches, rock climbing, scenic drives, and avoiding Mark Zuckerberg on his honeymoon, but due to our limited time, we canceled that plan and booked a hotel in Monte Argentario, a small peninsula full of hilltop forts and dotted with a few small towns, for a few days so we could still get some beach time. You probably haven’t heard of this area of Tuscany, except for the awful cruise ship disaster off the nearby island of Giglio six months ago. We spent our days at the beach, walking around the small town of Porto Ercole, and sampling the local Tuscan food and wine specialties.
We then headed inland and drove through quintessential Tuscan countryside full of wheat, olive and sunflower fields, and dotted with small, picturesque Etruscan and medieval towns perched atop hills. It’s exactly like it looks in the movies, and I love it. My mom hadn’t been to Italy in 25 years, and I hadn’t been to this part of the country in 20 years, so it was a bit of a trip down memory lane for both of us.
We stopped in tiny, sleepy towns to taste their best meats and cheeses and take in the view. We ate a delicious homecooked dinner with our friends Matt and Emily, who happened to be honeymooning at an agriturismo (a farm B&B) near Montalcino, where we spent a night. This part of Tuscany is lovely not for one particular town or activity, but for the general feel– the views, the curvy drives, the local foods, the old men shooting the shit in the town square, and of course the famous red wines, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which can be sampled on almost every corner at an enoteca.
Our time in Tuscany felt a bit rushed, but frankly you could spend months here and still wish you could stay just a little longer. Anyway, it was time to head to head to my father’s hometown, Citta di Castello, to visit family!