Like slow food, slow travel experiences were born in Italy. As a culture, Italians excel at slowing down and appreciating life, making Italy the perfect slow travel destination. Whether you’re looking to slow down in Venice, Rome, Florence or Naples, or need help understanding how to escape the city, our Prontopia local assistants can guarantee you an authentic slow travel experience.
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As a local living in Florence, I wanted to create my own slow travel experience in the great outdoors, and for me there’s no greater outdoors than those filled with vineyards. The rolling hills of Chianti, filled with winding roads, stunning vistas and wildflowers for days will leave even non-drinkers drunk with love. But where to start?
Here’s a few tips from my recent journey.
We usually recommend public transit, but in this case, the best way to experience wine country is really by car. But that doesn’t mean you have to drive! Our buddies at Divine Wine Tours will pick you up in Florence and customize a tour to suit your palate and your interests.
These guys know their wine- company founder Lorenzo is a sommelier, and their English- his wife in an American and he’s spent years working with travelers from all over the world. Every tour is unique, and whether you’re looking for a name brand winery or a small unknown one, they’ve got you covered. We love them because they are young, fun and flexible- no two tours are alike!
Part of the slow travel experience is taking your time! Even though Chianti is only a 45-minute drive from Florence, we stopped along the way in Impruneta, a small town just outside Florence known for its terracotta. Every corner of this town is dripping with charm…and terracotta. Check out this factory where you can get the real deal and watch them work.
But I’m more interested in what’s inside the terracotta- especially when its wine. We stopped at OttoMani, (Italian for “8 hands”), a small winery run by 4 friends that have made great use of their 8 hands. This biodynamic winery ages their wine in barrels made of oak, terracotta and concrete- each delivering a different taste based on the barrel type.
I tried and loved all of their wines, but the winners for me were the Chianti Classico, the Sangiovese and their delicious Olive Oil. Be sure to call or email for an appointment first or you may find them away in the vineyards or harvesting olives.
After a delicious tasting at OttoMani, we were faced with the tough decision- continue sampling wine or take a nap?
Fortunately, we didn’t have to choose: we had already booked a stay at the organic farm and winery Querceto di Castellina in anticipation of their newly re-instated summer vineyard dinners where you can wine and dine under the vines.
I was fully prepared for the dinner itself to be fantastic- it is Chianti after all- but what I didn’t expect was how magical the entire property felt from the moment we arrived. After nearly 3 months in quarantine in Florence, being more 200 meters away from my house was still kind of a thrill, and being transported to a peaceful world of butterflies, lavender, donkeys, goats and vines brought the thrills to another level.
The vineyard is organic and family-run, and you can tell that Nature there is just happy. Everything works together in harmony- the lavender brings the butterflies and bees, the vineyards dance with flowers in the fields, the owners are relaxed, genuine and friendly, and the resulting wine is delicious. We spent 2 days there enjoying their pool, tasting wines, indulging in the vineyard dinner and doing something that has been hard to do in 2020- relaxing completely.
Although we had been out of quarantine for over nearly 6 weeks when we visited, this was the first time I felt truly at peace since late February. Maybe it was the scent of the lavender that dusted the edge of the pool, making the lazy pool day more like a spa day. Or maybe it was the out-of-this-world wine and cheese board we enjoyed while watching the sunset. Or maybe it was that for the first time since February, I finally started to believe that Andrà Tutto Bene- it will all be okay.
Let us help you find some peace. Book a
Prontopia local assistant
today to do your heavy lifting at home so you have more time to enjoy some
Chianti at home
or book us to help you find more hot spots next time you’re in Italy.
©Photo Credits: Photos by Jodi Koskella
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