Travel Series-Italy: Under the Tuscan Sun {Radda in Chianti}

Oh, Tuscany. You feel like home.


On Tuesday, June 19th we left Cinque Terre and headed south to Pisa. We originally didn’t plan on making a stop in Pisa, but since it was on the way–we spent approximately 45 minutes in the 90 degree weather looking like true tourists.

From Pisa we headed East to our small village–Radda in Chianti.

As we drove, I felt more and more like I was heading home to the Driftless Region of SW Wisconsin. Rolling hills, fields, friendly waves–a truly relaxing pace of life.

We stayed at Relais Vignale  which we enjoyed for the simple fact that in the 97 degree temps, they had a lovely outdoor pool that overlooked acres of grapes. We weren’t a fan of the AC unit in our room that didn’t seem to blow anything but hot air. Although, this place did have a pretty incredible shower — so staying wet was the way to go.


Clearly we planned on doing lots of winery tours while in Tuscany. At our concierge’s suggestion, we started with Castello di Meleto. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable, spoke perfect English (originally from Chicago) and we were in a group comprised of mostly Midwesterns (Waunakee & Ohio).

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We sampled over 6 varieties of wine (red, white and champagne) and some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Everything was incredible, and amazingly–I now enjoy red wine! We learned a great deal about the dirt composition and how important the geology of the region is. {I really think SW Wisconsin is the next Tuscany–a hidden gem, I tell you} 🙂


In the castle, they have one of the oldest theaters in Europe. 

The Tuscan sun did not disappoint. On my favorite day of the year (summer solstice), Erica and I had a photoshoot during magic hour. The glow and ambiance was breathtaking.

Two days in rural Tuscany was very relaxing, but a completely different vibe than Cinque Terre. Where Cinque Terre feels like a beach town–everyone is wearing swimsuits, tanks, shorts–Tuscany feels a bit more refined–but still just as relaxed.

Next stop…Florence!