If the first day of my 40s is anything to go by, entering my fourth decade ain’t so bad. But Tuscany is one a bit out of the box.
Our day started early. Really early. Like 4am alarm early.
We were met at our accomodation by Francesco, our Italian driver, standing beside his shiny black Mercedes Benz. We headed to Florence to watch the sun rise over this incredible city.
At Piazzale Michaelangelo, we were given a picnic basket filled with fresh food like salamis, cheeses, fruit and bread. No need to push towards the front of the crowd. It was just us a small group of drunk Italian kids who had been partying the night away on the steps.
The sunrise wasn’t great thanks to cloud but it was still incredible seeing dawn break over a city that is so rich in history.
We then visited a couple of cute little medieval walled towns, including Barberino Val d Elsa and Ceralto.
From there it was off to two wineries, Castello della Paneretta and Castellare for personal guided tours of how they make wine, through cellars and rooms. One is a castle that has been standing since the 1500s. To see the intricate artwork painted on the roof, and walk down the same steps to the cellar as people have been doing for more than 500 years is something to experience.
The old cellar door at Brokenwood looks a little bit dodgier now.
Then it was off to lunch. We had a beautiful meal at Risorante Albergaccio, which has a Michelin Star and featured local food like steak tartare and fresh zucchini flowers, slow cooked beef cheeks and pasta, and pigeon.
Yep, that’s right. Pigeon. It has only taken me 40 years to eat pigeon.
Apparently it’s a traditional meal here and has been for hundreds of years. In fact, our waiter even told us that the iconic Tuscan homes have a pigeon area in the roof where they used to raise their pigeons ready for cooking on special occasions. He seemed quite surprised to hear that we had never tasted pigeon before.
What did it taste like? Well, I would’t say chicken. But better than you think a bird would, if its main purpose in life is to crap on statues.
Thank you, thank you. I’m here all night. Try the pigeon.
A great way to see in my 40s, thanks to my amazing wife who organised it all.