tuscany in the fall

5th October 2014

     archway in tuscany, montepulciano, italy

every little alleyway led to amazing views

Where: Tuscany, Italy (mostly Montepulciano)

When: September

With: Miles (husband)

Autumn has always been my favorite season (as long as I’ve lived somewhere where there is an autumn). I love when the leaves change color and the temperature starts to drop. I like cozy sweaters and cute flats and not being too cold, while not being hot, either. There always feels like a lot of promise at the start of fall–I’m wondering what the next months will bring, thinking about the holidays and then the start of a new year.

foliage in tuscany, montepulciano, italy

city center in tuscany, montepulciano, italy

gnocchi pasta dinner in tuscany, montepulciano, italy

to. die. for. gnocchi

September is also the month Miles and I began dating oh-so-many years ago, and the month we got married. We usually take an end-of-summer/beginning-of-fall trip to celebrate our anniversary, while taking advantage of off-peak pricing. For our honeymoon last year, we started in Tuscany… and when the weather started changing this year, that was all I could think about.

laundry day quaint homes in tuscany, montepulciano, italy

beneath the tuscan sun view in tuscany, montepulciano, italy

italian lunch wine bread  in tuscany, montepulciano, italy

seriously simple and amazingly delicious. and the wine is SO cheap!

city walls  in tuscany, montepulciano, italy

We spent most of our time in Montepulciano, staying just outside the center of town in Villa Cicolina. The grounds of the property were beautiful (although to really take advantage of the pool you should probably head over in the summer) and our room was quite spacious and filled with beautiful antiques. We were even surprised with a bottle of champagne upon arrival!

villa cicolina cabin  in tuscany, montepulciano, italy

champagne in this romantic little barn on the villa property

continental breakfast at villa cicolina in tuscany, montepulciano, italy

the croissants had a hint of rose taste to them.. so good

infinity view with tuscan views  in tuscany, montepulciano, italy villa cicolina

can you imagine laying out by this pool on a warm summer day?

We found the area to be relatively affordable and very tourist friendly. Even though we heard a lot of English, we didn’t feel like our experience was inauthentic… The food was incredible and generally well-priced, especially compared to everywhere else we went (Florence, Rome and Amalfi Coast). It really seemed like everyone went out of their way to make visitors feel welcome.

It’s important to rent a car–Tuscany is filled with adorable little towns begging to be explored. It wasn’t scary at all to drive there, either, as the roads were big and traffic pretty sparse. We took a day trip to Montalcino to visit the Castello Banfi winery, and stopped at lots of places on our way home to watch the sun set over the rolling hills in the distance.

barrel room at castello banfi in montalcino tuscany italy

driving  in montalcino tuscany italy

one bad thing about driving… we probably should not have been driving post winery tour!

views from castello banfi in montalcino tuscany italy

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Before we went to Italy as adults, I was a huge Francophile. But now… I’m convinced there is no place more romantic than Tuscany in the fall. All the locals we met were so friendly and hospitable. The weather was perfect–brisk in the mornings and evenings but just right during the day, with an abundance of sun. The small towns of Tuscany are filled with the most amazing vistas, rolling hills, and make you feel invited and comfortable even when you’re lost in your rental car after landing from a red-eye. The food is out of this world, and also extraordinarily simple. I’m dreaming about the day we can go back and stay even longer.

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IN A NUTSHELL…

Eat: Osteria Acquacheta in Montepulciano for to-die-for gnocchi and Florentine steak

Drink/play: take advantage of all the free wine/cheese tastings in town and take your favorites back to your villa for an after-dinner drink

Do: rent a car to explore the area around you–we didn’t make lots of plans, just hopped in the car and drove

Stay: at an amazing villa like Villa Cicolina–there are so many to choose from and many are quite affordable

How long: Forever? But really, I’d budget at least 4 days so you have time to explore. We went on to Florence for a day and a half but I probably would have preferred to stay in the little towns longer!

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