Okay well if this isn't the cutest and coolest way to tour the Tuscan countryside, I don't know what is. Today we rode our bikes out of town a little ways at met up with the folks at the 500 Touring Club, Beppe and Andrea. If you visit Florence, you must take this tour. Andrea gave us a quick lesson on double clutching these vintage Fiats and once she was confident we had it, we (two other couples and Kevin and I) followed Beppe in his green 500 (she's called Olivia) and headed out. Oh right, after we were all given the proper hats.
We drove Roberto. Roberto is a 1970 model and used to be a race car in his day. "Low slung with go faster wheel hoods. Since the removal of his racing engine he has been taking life a little easier, an “F” type he has an enlarged windscreen, and headlight beams made asymmetric to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic."
The cars all come with a little speaker box that plays 60s and 70s Italian pop music and it set the mood perfectly. PER. FECT. LY.
We headed for Impruneta for a visit to the Poggi Ugo terracotta kiln. (This is Topsy, below, a 1967 model):
Olivia, in front of Poggi Ugo:
And another shot of our beloved Roberto:
This kiln is one of the most ancient furnaces in this area, founded at the end of the XVI century, restored by the Poggi family in 1919. Apparently the best terracotta in Italy comes from Impruneta. The terracotta from here is famous not only for the quality of workmanship, clay and firing, but also for being resistant to below zero temperatures even when damp.
Roberto and Ella:
Back on the road for a bit before we made another stop at an olive farm where Beppe told us a bunch of cool stuff about making olive oil:
And, more driving through gorgeous towns and countryside:
We ended the tour at the beautiful Villa Le Piazzole up the road from the clubhouse. Passing the vineyard on the way in:
We headed down into the very old cellar for some wine tasting and a light lunch of bruschetta, tuscan meats and cheeses, bread, pate, and some honey made by Beppe's wife Andrea (well, made by her bees, I suppose). It was great to get to chat with everyone more over lunch and wine.
We tried one olive oil and four wines: a white, two reds (one blend that was 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Merlot, and a 100% Sangiovese) and a dessert wine. All were good, and we brought home (in our bike bag) two bottles of the 100% Sangiovese.
Thank you, Andrea and Beppe, for a fantastic day!