The next day we went to Montalcino, one of the many small towns we will visit in Tuscany. We arrived at Drogheria Franci:

Drogheria Franci

Piazzale Fortezza, 5

0577 848191

The wine house was in the middle of houses on cobblestone and a small elementary school:

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Kids playing in the school yard next to the wine house.

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View from the wine house balcony

View from the wine house balcony

We did wine and honey tasting:

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From left, clockwise: chestnut honey, truffle honey, strawberry honey, and raw honey (the lightest honey, usually used in tea or coffee). The chest honey was especially good with the pecorino cheese, but the truffle honey made EVERYthing taste like heaven.

Truffle honey was my favorite.

Truffle honey was my favorite. It's the one with the specs in it.

We REALLY loved the honey:

A very attractive picture

I look pretty darn hot in this picture.

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So does Aaron.

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A dessert white. Only ok.

We kept the labels of the wines we liked and wrote what we thought of them on the back.

We kept the labels of the wines we liked and wrote what we thought of them on the back.

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Things got a bit silly:

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Before leaving Montalcino, we took some pictures in  the parking lot. Yes, this is the view from the PARKING LOT.

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Our lovely car:

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We then headed to Pienza to walk around their town center / piazza, and ate dinner at another one of Gourmet Guide to Italy’s recommendations:

La Buca della Fate
Corso Rossellino 38a
0578 748272

We got there early by Italian standards, around 7:00 p.m. We were the first ones in the restaurant. By the time we left, the entire restaurant was full. There was even a big table of 10 priests!

We had the local pecorino and prosciutto for appetizer. It was probably the best cheese and meat I have ever tasted, and it came from the front of the restaurant where our host sliced it on the counter for us. Then we shared the picci (thick udon like pasta) as recommended. Very simply prepared in a spicey tomato sauce, it was delicious!

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We also shared the T-bone steak:

Forgot to take a picture of it until we already ate a mouthful.

Forgot to take a picture of it until we already ate a mouthful.

Also shared the tiramisu:

I don't remember why they gave us three forks. Hehe.

I don't remember why they gave us three forks. Hehe.

We took some pictures in the piazza during our after dinner stroll:

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We were on our way back to our hotel and got a bit turned around. It was when the GPS uttered our now most feared phrase: “drive on unpaved road.” We proceeded to drive on the “unpaved road,” which for the most part was not too bad, was just wide enough for two cars to pass by each other. Now I really cannot remember why the confusion happened, but I thought the GPS wanted us to turn around, and Aaron thought it wanted us to turn right. We thought we missed a turn so I told Aaron to turn left into someone’s driveway, thinking that he would turn around and make a complete U-turn from the driveway. So we turn into the driveway, Aaron turns around, then proceeds to go straight into a small road (would have been turning right from the original road). The small road was basically some flat, square stones, paved into a field of bushes, going uphill at about a 30 degree angle. I had a delayed reaction but soon was saying in a nice, calm voice, (not wanting to upset Aaron) “Wait, what are you doing??” And Aaron said “that’s what the GPS said!” proceeded by “This is bad.” followed by us trying to back up. We backed up and things seemed to be going well until we heard a small noise. Immediately I remembered there was a ditch on the other side of the road and my heart sank when I realized our back tires were probably in the ditch. Keeping a facade of serenity, I said “I’ll just pop out and see what’s going on” while Aaron said “OOOOOO NOOOOOOOOOO.” When I saw that our tires were only 1/8 in the ditch, Aaron rolled down the window, and after about 40 K-turns, we finally got out of there! Good thing there were no one else on the road. While exciting and a bonding experience, I wouldn’t suggest going on sketchy looking roads if you are in a foreign country! I asked Aaron if I seemed calm and he said “Yes! You were so great! Thank goodness you were because I was freaking out.” and I said “On the outside, I was calm. On the inside I was screaming “OHMIGOD OH NO OH GOD OH NoOOOOOOO!”

Then. The best part of the trip happened: PASTA GATTI!!!!

Translation: pasta kitty!!!

We went back to our B & B in Montepulciano and decided to get a glass of wine before going to bed. Since all the wine bars were closed (I think they close in the afternoon in Europe…it was about 10 p.m. when we were out) we decided to go to the restaurant where we went the night before for a cappucino. We were on our way back to our hotel (about a whole block away) when a little orange cat started following us. When we stopped, he stopped to sit down. We played with him a while and decided to sit down on the church’s step (also in the piazza) to gaze at the stars. As soon as we sat down, Pasta Gatti sauntered over and sat down on our laps, giving each of us a turn! He was purring so loudly and was obviously cared for. When we stood up to leave, he went right into the restaurant and no one seemed to mind. He must belong to the owner of the restaurant.

Here is Pasta Gatti, following us.

Here is Pasta Gatti, following us.

Here he is, stopping when we stopped. La-ti-da-ti, I'm Pasta Gatti.

Here he is, stopping when we stopped. La-ti-da-ti, I'm Pasta Gatti.

He was very soft and clean (I examined him for fleas).

He was very soft and clean (I examined him for fleas).

Here he is, surprising me by walking on to my lap.

Here he is, surprising me by walking on to my lap.

I'm Pasta Gatti, I like to party.

I'm Pasta Gatti, I like to party.

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Aaron petted him while he was on my lap so Pasta Gatti decided he liked him better.

Aaron petted him while he was on my lap so Pasta Gatti decided he liked him better.

Aaron said "So, here I am, sitting in a piazza in Tuscany, petting a random cat. You know, just another day." Pasta Gatti's all, "So???"

Aaron said "So, here I am, sitting in a piazza in Tuscany, petting a random cat. You know, just another day." Pasta Gatti's all, "So???"

We finally got up to go back to our hotel room. Pasta Gatti went into the restaurant for more pasta.

Stay tuned for our adventures in San Gimign..a..no..na. Still cannot pronounce the name of that town.

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