For our first day in Tuscany, we decided to stay close to home and visit some of the small scenic towns. Pienza, renowned for their pecorino (sheep) cheese and small town charm was about 15 minutes from our “home” for the week, Lucignanello Bandini.
We followed the ridge roads and admired the view along the way of the Tuscan countryside. Most of the crops had been already harvested and the fields were plowed awaiting their next sowing.
Monica bought this gorgeous hand made address book in one of the shops. The paper was marble dyed by the proprietor and the girl tending the shop was applying the leather binding – a perfect “locally made” reminder to take home!
They were covering the Piazza Grande with sand, and had antique wagons scattered around the piazza. We found out the next day that they were preparing for a television series filming that featured Dustin Hoffman and Richard Madden in “Medici: Masters of Florence“.
Just down the hill from Piazza Grande is the famous Cantine Contucci wine cellars, a winery that has been producing since before the Renaissance (1008). Learn more about their history on their website: http://www.contucci.it/en/
We greeted him and he happily posed for pictures before sending us into the cellars for our tour. He later joined us for our wine tasting, guiding us through their selections. Denise ordered a case to be sent home so we’ll have to go visit her when it arrives…
Just down the way we noticed a sign for a wine cellar and took the steps downward into the cellars to explore. It was the de’Ricci Cantine Storiche, and their cellar was impressive! There was no charge to tour the cellars, but if you want to sample the wines there is a fee. It is deducted if you make a purchase, which we did, buying a bottle for the evening. The soaring ceilings in the cellar are really impressive, and it also features an Etruscan well. Learn more about the cantine and history at: http://www.dericci.it/
We rested a bit and then got ready for our dinner in San Giovanni d’Asso at La Loconda del Castello. Located in the castle built in the 1500s, the restaurant offers an upscale elegant dinner. Our hostess had called ahead to make reservations for us. We took pictures a few days later during the day so you can see what the castle looks like. http://www.lalocandadelcastello.com/
Here’s the Castle of San Giovanni d’Asso from below the town
On the right side of the castle is the truffle museum, Museo del Tarfufe, however they were closed when we visited. http://museotartufo.museisenesi.org/