In full transparency, we were only in Tuscany (Siena) for two days, and there is SO much more to do and see than we were able to accomplish during our short time there. When Travis and I visit Italy again, we would like to stay in Tuscany for at least 4-5 days to get the full experience.
All of that is to say that this Tuscany Travel Guide is not comprehensive (I recommend Rick Steves for that!). But rather, it includes our favorite activities from our two days in Siena, including a review of the fantastic bed and breakfast where we stayed.
Let’s get to it, shall we!?
How we got from Florence to Siena:
We spent a lot of time debating how we were going to get around Tuscan wine country. Many people told us that driving in Tuscany is easy, but at the end of the day, Travis and I decided that we didn’t want to deal with the stress of driving and navigating in a foreign country and language.
Instead, we hired a driver to take us from our hotel in Florence to our hotel in Siena and made a fun day trip out of it. We cannot say enough positive things about our driver, Marco. Travis and I selected the stops we wanted to make along the way, but Marco was also able to provide fantastic recommendations as he lives in Florence, and grew up in Siena.
Marco picked us up in a pristine Mercedes sedan, and we were very comfortable during our 8-hour day trip. If you’re staying in Florence and want to book a day trip to/from wine country, Marco is also available for that type of private excursion. Do not hesitate to reach out to him. He is extremely accommodating, kind, and professional. We would hire him again in a heartbeat.
Where we stayed in Siena:
We stayed at B&B Ca Bianca, located a few miles outside of “downtown” Siena, and this is where our driver Marco dropped us off at the end of our trip with him.
Ca Bianca is a fairly new bed and breakfast operated by a wonderful young couple, Julianna and Simone. During our two day stay at Ca Bianca, Travis and I became increasingly amazed by all that Julianna and Simone do! Simone checked us in and gave us a tour of their beautiful property, which includes the main house, a pool, vegetable garden, tennis courts and more.
Simone is also the cook, and he made the most incredible breakfast displays every morning, as well as a daily lunch and apertivo (Italian happy hour). He cooks with everything he grows in their on-site vegetable garden, which I, of course, LOVED. Talk about farm fresh food!
Our room was small, but perfect for our needs, with a comfortable bed and spacious bathroom. The view outside our windows was unbelievable. It felt so special to watch the sun rise and set both days.
Our biggest regret is that we didn’t have more time at Ca Bianca. Because our two days were spent sightseeing, we didn’t get to take advantage of the pool, tennis courts, and rental bikes that the bed and breakfast offers. We will definitely need to return to Ca Bianca in the future so we can benefit from all of their fantastic amenities.
What we did in Tuscany:
On our day trip from Florence to Siena, we stopped in San Gimignano, a medieval hill town with a 1,000+ year history.
We had so much fun looking at the historic architecture and medieval homes (which were built MUCH smaller than they are today!)
In addition to the rich history San Gimignano has to offer, there are also a variety of quaint independently-owned shops and restaurants to explore.
We stopped at Il Trovatore in San Gimignano for lunch and loved our meal. The restaurant is located just outside of the city walls, and it offers a wide range of pizzas, pasta, and Tuscan delicacies. All of their pastas can be made gluten-free, as well.
Travis and I both ordered pasta and shared a plate of grilled vegetables and a small carafe of their house red wine. It was all delicious and a very peaceful dining experience.
This small, family-run winery was high on my list because they are known for their fantastic white wines, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, and I am so, so glad we got to visit. The wine tasting experience was personal and relaxing, and we loved all of the wines we sampled. I love family-operated businesses such as this one – we even got to meet the winemaker’s dogs who live on the property!
If you like refreshing white wines, you will love Capella Sant’Andrea‘s wines. We bought three bottles to bring home, and we regretted not bringing home more (especially because they were very reasonably priced!). If you’re near San Gimignano, I highly recommend visiting this winery. Make sure to contact them first to make a reservation (we didn’t and ended up being very lucky that someone was available to help us).
On our second day in Siena we went on a full-day wine tour, featuring Brunello wines, a red wine that is local to Montalcino, Tuscany. The tour included tastings at three wineries in Montalcino plus lunch at a local winemaker’s home, which was a very special experience.
The tour was a a lot of fun, and our guide was very knowledgable about Tuscany and Italian wine making. One thing of note: it is a long day (about 9AM-6PM), and if red wine makes you sleepy (like me!) then you may be craving a nap mid-afternoon. I fell asleep on the ride back to Siena at the end of the day, but I guess wine + a full day will do that to you!
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I hope you enjoyed this Tuscany Travel Guide – I had a lot of fun reminiscing and recapping it for you! If you’re planning a trip to Siena or any of the places mentioned in this post, feel free to leave questions or comments in the comment section of this post. Thanks for reading!