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Italy - Tuscany

A couple of very cool things about this trip that stand out from the rest...

First, my sister Amy & I traveled through Europe and spent time in northern Italy when we were 17 and 19 years old. It was our first big adventure together as adults. We have always talked about going back and paying more attention to the history, so it was exciting to revisit some of the places we originally were.

Second, we ran a half marathon in Tuscany making this the second continent we've raced on. The race is what got us back here again. I'm so grateful for her willingness and the people that inspired us along the way. It was pretty incredible to train together and accomplish something so challenging!

Here are just a few of my many favorites from the first part of that trip:

Siena/Tuscany -

We spent the first five days traveling with Marathon Tours. If you ever want to do a group trip with a little physical activity, I highly recommend this company. Several people even opted to walk the Ecomaratonina Chianti Classico distances of 13k, half marathon and even the full marathon so running is not mandatory to be a part.

I didn't know much about Siena before this trip. Of all of the places I've been in Italy thus far, Siena is now my favorite. It's as if someone took all the best parts of Florence and tucked it behind a cozy brick perimeter. There is plenty to do and the small towns we visited for wine tours are easy and stunning drives not to far away from the city center. I will definitely go back here. Maybe for a horse race next time...

Here are some of our stops with this tour of Tuscany.

Where to stay:

Hotel NH Siena - This hotel sits right in the town of Siena and is easy walking distance to all the shopping, restaurants and night life. It was pretty easy to take the train from Florence into Siena and then a bus at the Siena train station right to the hotel. No car needed. Both train tickets and bus passes were bought on site when we got there and depart regularly.

Borgo Scopeto Relais - Castlenuovo Baerardenga (Pictured). This is the only five star resort in Tuscany and is absolutely incredible. You would need a car to get here as it's in the middle of Tuscany countryside, but once you arrive everything you need for a relaxing get-away is there.

Where to eat (Siena):

Vinattieri Restaurant - This restaurant is absolutely gorgeous and the food is really good. It's also an easy walk from the Hotel NH.

Piazza del Campo - Twice a year they hold the Palio horserace at this shell shaped piazza which is very cool. Its perimeter is surrounded by various restaurants with outdoor seating which makes this a great dinner spot.

What to do: Wine Tours.

Montepulciano - Talosa Cellar (pictured) was the first winery we toured and the cellar sits in the center of this old town. They have a store where you can have tastings and offer guided tours. This was my favorite cellar as far as the town, the building and the tour.

Montalcino - Fortezza di Montalcino - The Fortress of Montalcino makes Brunello wine which was my favorite wine of all the tours and a must have in my house. They are also located in the town center and open for tastings and tours. Fun fact - they offer free shipping to the US if you order by the case!

Tenuta Cappellina - From the soil, to the plant, to the grape, this vineyard puts so much attention and care into creating my favorite Chianti Classico wine. What a joy to receive the tour from the owner himself. His passion for the land and the wine was infectious. I highly recommend this tour and the grounds here are breathtaking.

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