Our travels continue north into the Chianti region of Tuscany in Radda, Italy. Winding roads up and over mountains with a plethora of vineyards as far as the eye can see. Continue along in our travel log as we explore this medieval town along with the historical city of Siena.
We are entering day 7 of our trip and after having explored Rome and Montepulciano we continued north into the Chianti region of Tuscany by staying in a secluded B&B outside the historical town of Radda. Having just stayed in one of the most beautiful resorts I’ve ever seen at Borgo Tre Rose, my hopes were high that our luck would continue with our stay at Villa Sant’Uberto.
I must digress a quick moment to say that I did indicate to our travel agent that I wanted to stay at places that were off the beaten path and outside of the main town. I wanted to “experience” the local culture. Well, I got what I wished for when I asked for a secluded B&B! I hate to knock on any place because I know some people probably loved Sant’Uberto, but I simply did not. We arrived when it was raining and dreary outside and it was located up this long, dirt road that just screamed haunted house. I know, that’s terrible of me! The Villa was older in nature and we had to turn in our keys each time we left the room and there just simply wasn’t much of anything to do there at the property besides sleep and shower. I may or may not have thrown a tiny hissy fit over wanting to stay someplace else, but I sucked it up because I picked the place and ended up staying here in Radda for 3 nights. If you like quaint, secluded and with older character then you might love it!
After we checked in we headed out for lunch in downtown Radda at La Terrazza. They have an expansive terrace around back with panoramic views of the countryside littered with vineyards. We certainly couldn’t pass up this opportunity to indulge in a few more bottles of wine!
Wine Bottle Count : 29
After a short nap while it rained back at the Inn, we headed to nearby in Castellini. We passed through this charming village on the way to Radda earlier in the day and were hoping for a delicious meal with recipes native to the locals. Le Tre Porte had the most delicious pizzas we devoured followed by a few more bottles of wine!
Wine Bottle Count : 31
Day 8 of our trip involved an hour long car ride to visit the historic city of Siena. Thankfully that morning I looked up driving in Siena and read some really great, important tips if you plan on bringing your car into this busy city center. There are areas that require a local permit to enter and if you cross this line in the road it scans your car and if you don’t have the proper pass, plan on receiving a hefty ticket sometime in the near future. They basically advised that if you come upon the zoning restriction figure out a way to turn around. Do whatever it takes even if it means upsetting the cars behind you. Well… that happened to us! We ended up on a small street that left us with a zoning restriction up ahead and a do not enter/one way street to our left. Thankfully, there was only one car behind us so my Dad had to maneuver a tight U-turn and get us out of there. Take my advice and steer clear of the local zoning laws!
After 30+ minutes of trying to find a parking spot in Siena, we set off walking towards the infamous Il Campo. This central piazza is known for the Palio horse race that happens twice a year. After being there, it’s hard to believe they host a horse race! I mean it’s a big piazza, but it doesn’t seem THAT big! All around the piazza are shops and restaurants, but I will advise that you wander off the tourist area to find some great authentic restaurants. We stopped at Oggi si Mangia which had a menu only in Italian which always makes for interesting ordering stories, but the food is always delicious! Sticking with what seems to be our routine, we enjoyed two really great bottles of red wine.
Wine Bottle Count : 33
After lunch we walked over to see the Duomo di Siena (Cathedral of Siena) which is enormous in its size, but even more so its beauty is absolutely captivating. There is more history that we can even begin to fathom here, but we opted to take a walking tour throughout the crypts and other areas of the church. We weren’t able to see the actual Cathedral because the line to get in was ridiculously long. No worries though, even if this is all you can see, it’s remarkable.
Side note — I kept getting caught up in the architecture of the churches and the precision of the smallest details. Along side of this church were sculpted heads, slabs of granite and ornate details that left me in awe. It doesn’t even begin to touch the efforts they put inside. Everything is above and beyond and immaculate in design. It really does put in perspective the value they put on the churches and to think this was done thousands of years ago!
With any of these cities, it’s best to just start wandering down streets and seeing what you come upon. It’s how we found a lot of unique architecture, shops and restaurants. We ended up back at Il Campo for a quick apertivo of another bottle of (terrible) red wine and then we were back to the car to head home to Radda.
Wine Bottle Count : 34
Even though our Villa was out in the middle of nowhere, there was this amazing little restaurant called La Cantoniera right down the road that I could have eaten at each night (we did try 2 other nights!). This particular night, we feasted like kings. We ordered meats and cheeses, bruschetta, pasta dishes AND pizzas. This of course was all washed down with two more bottles of Chianti Classico’s which are native to the region. Tip — don’t come to the Chianti region and not indulge in what they are known for. It’s often 100% Sangiovese grapes and some of the best wines I’ll ever have.
Wine Bottle Count : 35
Our final day staying in Radda we drove the 35 miles to Florence (Firenze) and caught the train to the world famous, Venice. Stay tuned because that day trip deserves it’s own post!
Overall, we loved the central location of Radda to other big, historical areas but I didn’t love it as much as the southern Tuscany area. In part, it could have been because the drive in and out of our Radda villa was steep, very windy roads and my motion sickness really had enough of it by the end of day 3. It’s an absolutely beautiful area to see, I probably would have loved it more if we stayed somewhere else. Let me know if you’ve been and where you stayed! You never know, I could be back there someday.