The Road to Tuscany with Kids

We began our Italy journey in Trieste, where we spent a couple of days getting our land legs back after two weeks on the boat.  The city was a bit of a rude awakening after such a tranquil sailing trip. It was so, so crowded due to the Barcolana 55 sailing regatta that was happening while we were there.  It turned out to be a much needed break and we ended up just walking, visiting a park and consuming lots of gelato.  We also ate at the most delicious pizza restaurant, Pizzaria Tutta N’ata Storia.  We practiced our Italian with our very patient waitress, and I think she was impressed! She even shared pictures of her kids with us!

Grabbing a pizza at Pizzaria Tutta N'ata Storia in Trieste

Originally our plans were to spend time in Venice and Milan before flying to Southeast Asia. However, while we were sailing, we decided that may not be the best idea. The kids and I need space to roam, and a week of city life did not sound too appealing after being at sea for two weeks.  Given that, we decided on Tuscany.  We found a beautiful agriturismo, just outside of Poggibonsi, to serve as our home for seven days.  We drove from Trieste listening to “Tuscan Villa” playlist on Spotify as we prepared for the week ahead. 

Our villa was gorgeous, a couple of miles up a gravel path to the top of a hill overlooking vineyards and San Gimignano.  It felt like Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun, arriving at our gorgeous Italian villa for a transformative week away—except for the three kids who were pinching each other in the back seat.  Alas, we were brought back to reality 😊. We spent the week indulging in all that Tuscany has to offer – delicious food, fabulous wine, and the picturesque countryside. 

Our first evening at the villa, we were so enchanted with our surroundings that we all decided on an evening stroll, which ended in dancing under the stars and skinny dipping for the kids!

We took day trips to Castellina in Chianti, Florence, Pisa, and Montecino.  In Castellina, the boys rented bikes after we interrupted an Italiano’s plans to go home for break at 1pm.  In most of this region, businesses close up shop from 1pm-3pm for lunch, what a way to live! While the boys biked, Bingo and I toured the town, window shopping and eating gelato.  When the boys finally returned, they all proclaimed that it was “the worst bike ride ever!”  Apparently, there was no marked path and lots of traffic.  The only redeeming moment was when they turned down a gravel road leading to one of many vineyards and picked a few ripe, Sangiovese grapes to try.

Goose and Manji taking a break from exploring Tuscany as kids in Castellina in Chianti

Our day in Florence began with the Leonardo Di Vinci Interactive Museum.  The museum used Da Vinci’s journal to recreate all his inventions in a hands-on exhibition.  We were blown away with how much Da Vinci accomplished during his lifetime.  It wasn’t just his famous paintings, but pulley systems, bridges, bicycles, and dissecting of cadavers.  A true Renaissance Man!

Goose building with Leonardo's Bridge at the Leonardo di Vinci interactive museum in Florence

From there we had pizzas at a small restaurant with the most gregarious owner.  He let the kids taste test fresh mozzarella and offered the boys a job if they return as teenagers!  We then walked the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge and visited Il Duomo.

All five of us on the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence

Pisa turned out to be one of our favorite outings.  We rented bicycles from Smile & Ride and rode ten miles to the coast where we picnicked.  Of course we forgot how enticing the water is so the kids swam one last time in the Adriatic, in their undies! We loaded up, once again, on gelato and rode back into town.  We ended our day at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and it was everything we hoped it would be! It’s a cool feeling when you get to visit a place up close that you’ve seen pictures of for years.  We learned about the structure of the tower and tried our best to take some silly photos!

Goose holding up the leaning tower of PIisa, what a perfect activity in Tuscany for kids

The cherry on top of our trip to Tuscany was the private cooking class that James arranged for us.  Chef Diana and her husband, Alessandro, arrived at our apartment on Saturday afternoon loaded down with ingredients and cooking utensils.  We then spent six hours learning the history of pasta. Chef Diana shared her love of pasta with us we ultimately enjoyed a meal with these two wonderful people.  Outside, autumn had arrived with a golden glow of sunlight shining through the windows.  We had jazz music playing in the background and the kids had their hands in all the ingredients, helping Diana as she explained the process of making fresh pasta. 

Chef Diana hard at work teaching our kids how to make the perfect tiramisu

In between washing dishes for his wife, Alessandro regaled us with stories of his beloved Vespa and his many sailing trips.  The entire experience felt like something out of a movie! We were so sad when the evening was over as we exchanged hugs with both Diana and Alessandro.  We’ve had so many wonderful moments since our trip began but this one truly seemed like a dream.

Enjoying the homemade pasta from our cooking class with Chef Diana

We spent our last day visiting Montalcino, the home of James’ favorite wine! We drove the countryside, visited the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, had a picnic at an overlook, and then made our way into town to sample some Brunellos. 

James enjoying a Brunello in Montalcino...we said we spent most of our time enjoying Tuscany with kids

The day was perfection and an amazing way to end our time in Tuscany!

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