For my birthday, Jonny and I decided to fly out to Italy to enjoy a few days in beautiful Tuscany! I had visited the area a few years ago when I went Inter-railing around Europe, and it was one of my favourite parts of Italy. I was so excited to go back and visit this picturesque part of the world – and this time get to share it with someone special.
Day 1 – Wednesday 12th September
Arriving in Tuscany
We sleepily left our Chester flat at 5am and headed to Manchester airport, where we boarded our flight to Pisa! On arrival we walked out of the plane into a wall of heat – it was 11am and 35°C. We quickly got out of our jeans and hoodies and said goodbye to the English rain!
We decided to hire a car for our adventure – and were pretty excited/nervous considering neither of us had ever driven on the right-hand side before! We arrived at the Hire Car office and were handed over a tiny Smart Car. We just burst out laughing at the thought of the pair of us driving around Italy in this tiny little vehicle! Little did we know it would actually be the best car for driving around the narrow Italian streets and parking in small parking spaces in Siena!
We began our 60-minute drive to San Gimignano from Pisa Airport – our base for the trip. The drive was a lot less stressful than expected (I tried to hide the fact I was holding on for dear life as we climbed up and down the Tuscan hills) – and we only drove on the wrong side of the road briefly, after turning right on a junction and staying on the left hand side. My panicked scream quickly made Jonny get back on the right side and we made it in one piece to our hotel. Our first Italian driving experience – mission complete!
On arrival at our hotel – Hotel San Michele– we were greeted by a cute guesthouse, with stunning views of the surrounding Tuscan countryside. The rooms themselves were quite basic – however the infinity pool overlooking the local vineyards definitely made up for it! We booked last minute, and therefore didn’t get a hotel in San Gimignano itself, but one just over 1km away. Which turned out to be a lovely walk along the vineyards into the town.
We unpacked and decided to rest by the pool for a little while, take in the views and enjoy a drink, before heading into San Gimignano itself. Wow. We really were blown away by the beauty of San Gimignano – what an amazing town. We told ourselves that on this afternoon we wouldn’t get our guide books out, but would just wander around the town aimlessly – enjoy a drink, and a bite to eat before an early(ish) night back at the hotel.
And that’s exactly what we did, we wandered around the old medieval town and after an hour or so of exploring, we came across an absolute gem of a bar – Enoteca DiVinorum, with the most amazing panoramic views of beautiful Tuscany. We sat here, enjoyed an Aperol Spitz and ordered some Antipasti – how very Italian of us! As the view was so amazing, we ended up staying here for a few hours … we enjoyed a game of cards and a few more Aperols. What a perfect introduction to San Gimignano!
Feeling a little tipsy, we decided we needed some more food. We both got a pizza slice – one of the biggest pizza slices I had ever seen – and went to sit in Piazza Del Duomo, on the steps outside the Duomo. The pizza tasted incredible. Jonny went back for seconds and we just sat and people watched for the rest of the evening, soaking up the atmosphere in this delightful town.
We had already fallen in love with San Gimignano and couldn’t wait for the next few days! Check out Day 2 of our adventure HERE.