To the east of where we are staying spreads the famous Chianti region. When we examine the map roads seem to travel from north to south with not many traversing across implying significant flow of mountains or hills. All the roads show extreme tortuosity and we decide that this is too much of a challenge in quick succession for Tanya.
André starts the morning with a misty explore of the surrounding hills. Mid morning we head out to follow the SR 222 through the hills of Chianti while Tanya plans to check out the local art scene in Certaldo.
We start by stopping in on Monteriggioni, a tiny fortified village perched high on the hill. It served as a protective bastion for Siena as it seems in the old days each little region kept on invading each other and Florence itself was particularly aggressive even though it was extremely wealthy and successful ( do we ever change?)
André gets up on the ramparts and spots a large poppy field worthy of exploring. It makes for a great foreground for shots on his “proper camera” while I just settle for the colour WOW factor. This town is on the pilgrim route and we manage to source our first salad sandwich made with a traditional, ancient flat bread from stone ground flour.
As we shift to the east side of the main road it becomes apparent that the map was true to the lie of the land. It is very windy but the olive groves are virtually completely replaced by vineyards on steep slopes.
André is in heaven and we manage to find little pull outs for him to take advantage of the scenery. I find it still interesting how much open space there is here. The villages are still very small and there does not appear to be an urban sprawl happening.
We have read about a little town called Rada in Chianti and we detour off the SR222 to give it a look. It is small but very cute, lots of little ceramic shops displaying the Chianti motifs of a rooster. It also seems to be extremely popular as a cycling destination and we overtake lots of cyclists of various ages and build. Even though André and I are touring cyclists from way back we would not feel tempted here as the roads are extremely narrow, windy and have no shoulder, so visibility is minimal not to mention the massive gradients.
We find an alternate mode of transport and are very tempted by this, we might be able to convince Tanya this could be fun 🙂 The final attraction in Rada is a fabulous gelato shop and deli where I get our best so far strawberries. We are now ready to head home. We select a way home on our trusty Copilot and off we go. It is the second choice our “lady Copilot” gives us and we soon find out why.
It is an interesting way back, the road is mainly one car width and where a little wider we see that locals drive with their side mirrors turned in to gain a little bit of passing space. It is a hairy ride back and so windy that we are driving at about 30km/hour. Back home Tanya had a great day testing out which of the three gelateria’s in town she will sample and having a good chat to the artisan making local ceramic designs. Just a few little surprises to add to the suitcase.
After a nice pizza dinner out, we finish with a little something we picked up today and the very delicious panforte.