Where We Be
Chianti Wine Country, Italy
Castellina is ideally situated in the middle of Chianti wine
country. This unusual vaulted street is Via del Volte.
Hotel Salivolpi just outside town was one of our favorite lodgings of the trip
The lovely grounds invite you to sip a glass of wine and listen to the birds sing
Our sweet ride! This tiny Fiat Panda took us all over Tuscany and Umbria.
There are dozens of small hill towns near Castellina --
each one beckoning to be explored
The impossibly picturesque town of Volpaia
is only a few miles from Castellina
The quiet town is largely undiscovered by tourists,
but Italians frequent Volpaia's handful of restaurants
Robin peeks out from behind a lemon tree on the piazza
Lovely vineyards and villas surround the town
Volpaia is especially picturesque because its
uniform buildings are clustered atop a steep hill
On our third day we passed by the unforgettable medieval towers
of San Gimignano. It looks like a medieval dream village from here.
We were on our way to Volterra but literally couldn't
help ourselves -- we had to pull over for a look
We had visited San Gimignano on our last trip to Tuscany,
so we satisfied ourselves with this view from outside town
The town is filled with imposing stone buildings and winding medieval passageways
Castellina's church is lit up each night and the bells toll each hour
Great local food and wines play a big part in
any trip to Italy (or at least any trip we take!)
Perfect weather, perfect surroundings -- perfect picnic!
San Gimignano
But the main pedestrian thoroughfares make for easier walking
Volterra offers a commanding view over the surrounding countryside
A largely intact Roman amphitheater and baths sit just outside the city walls
We wandered slowly through Volterra, delighting in side alleys,
sudden viewpoints, and stone, stone, stone everywhere
This is Tuscan hill country so it's no surprise the views are great
This green park is located within Volterra's medieval walls
Quintessentially Italian -- sponged yellow
paint, cracked plaster, worn bricks
Laundry hangs outside windows
Volterra's side alleys offer plenty of stairs
to climb if you're looking for exercise
Robin goes European -- sweater wrapped over shoulders
Signs of spring everywhere we go
We rented a Fiat Panda at the Florence airport
and drove south into the middle of Chianti wine
country for three days. The town of Castellina
sits in idyllic Tuscan countryside, and the twisty
roads that get you there are an adventure in
their own right. In town there’s a small church
with loud bells (in a good way) and medieval
streets radiating outwards. Most memorable is
a vaulted stone tunnel of a street called Via del
Volte, home to subterranean restaurants and
shops. We stayed at Hotel Salivolpi just outside
town in a room with a slanted beamed ceiling.

Day trips in the heart of Tuscany are a beautiful
thing! On our second day we visited the tiny but
oh-so-picturesque hill town of Volpaia. We
bought pecorino cheese, salami, artichokes, a
pear, a bottle of wine, and some Nutella and
made ourselves an idyllic picnic on a bench
looking down onto town. People would fight for
this view at any restaurant!
Volterra is a large hill town dramatically situated
on a steep hill. This is where "Twilight" is set.