Montepulciano, Italy {Italian Honeymoon: under the Tuscan sun}

Italian Honeymoon: Part Five – Montepulciano, Tuscany

We took a train from Vernazza to La Spezia and then another train from La Spezia to Chiusi (Tuscany). Once we arrived in Chiusi we needed took a bus to  Montepulciano. Hopping on the bus was the easy part. There was a bus stop right outside the train station. However, once we got on the bus, we had no idea how far we needed to go. After a long and winding ride, we finally decided it was probably time to get off the bus. We ended up getting off a few stops early and had to walk uphill to our B&B. The walk really wasn’t that bad, carrying out backpacks is what seemed to make it most difficult–that and watching out for dodging traffic.

Montlepulicano, Italy

We stayed at Locanda San Francesco in a king size suite with a panoramic view on Valdichiana for 225 euros per night. It’s a small and quaint place with only 4 rooms available. It is run by a sweet lady named Cinzia. She was so wonderful. She would make reservations, book taxi’s, and help you with any questions.

There is also a restaurant and bar on the lower level. So, naturally, upon arrival we were invited in for a glass of complementary wine and cheese. It was such a warm welcome. It was so perfect!

Montepulciano, Tuscany
Montepulciano, Tuscany – View from Locanda San Francesco

It was WELL worth every penny!

Locanda San Francesco

This is a picture from our suite. As you can see, my cute hubby peaking his head out from the ‘loft’ area at the top of the stairs.

Our upstairs loft at Locanda San Francesco. (Montepulciano, Italy)
Our upstairs loft at Locanda San Francesco. (Montepulciano, Italy)

This was the restaurant / bar area at Locanda San Francesco

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The “window seat” in our room.

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After we got all settled in we decided to head out and check out the town. It worked out really nice because Locanda San Francesco was centrally located within the city walls and was a short walk to everything!

Montepulciano, Tuscany

The views were amazing! We had a blast.

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There were so many shops! We ended up shopping the whole day. Everything was so cheap, too! Not because it was cheaply made, but because it was all made in Montepulciano. We made many purchases. I ended up buying a few scarves, perfect for fall! And of course, we bought new leather shoes!! I got two pairs of boots and Chad got a pair of everyday shoes.

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Chad and I each bought a new hat. These weren’t the ones we bought, but we had SO MUCH FUN trying them on. 🙂

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After our long day of shopping we headed back to Locanda San Francesco for a wine flight and a cheese platter. The best discovery we made, peccorino cheese dipped in honey. They served that everywhere in Montepulciano. Oh my goodness, it was delicious! Who would have thought?

Our Wine Flight at Locanda San Francesco in Montepulciano, Italy.
Our Wine Flight at Locanda San Francesco in Montepulciano, Italy.

We loved the wine so much we ended up buying and entire case and having it shipped back to The States!!

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This was one of my favorite wines!

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After cocktail hour we headed to a restaurant {Osteria del Conte} that had wine and gluten free options!

We had to make reservations earlier in the day to assure our seats. 🙂

Chad

We were so happy we could scream!!

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On our second day, we had breakfast with another awesome view. Breakfast was compliments of our B&B.

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After breakfast we headed to a winery for a tour and wine tasting.

{Cinzia made the reservations for our wine tasting / tour AND called to reserve a taxi for us.}

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We had a delicious lunch with an amazing view at Ristorante II Poliziano.

You can’t see from this picture, but shortly after this picture was taken they moved us up on the balcony…it was gorgeous!

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{Peccorino cheese with honey and salmon!}

Montepulciano, Italy

{Veal Kabobs with salad.}

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Drinking in style on the streets of Montepulciano with our wedding Koozies!

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I had to get my picture in front of this building that was featured in Twilight: New Moon.

Montepulciano, Italy

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Montepulciano, Italy

We had so much fun and enjoyed our stay SO much we decided to stay an extra night because one night wasn’t enough!! I’m so glad that we did.

We were sad to say our goodbyes!

Montepulciano was BY FAR my favorite place!!

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Adios Montepulciano.

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Locanda San Francesca was a Trip Advisor winner.

This was one of the places we found via Trip Advisor and not through a Rick Steves Travel book.

We highly recommend Locanda San Francesco in Montepulciano, Italy.
We highly recommend Locanda San Francesco in Montepulciano, Italy.

Next Stop: Rome, Italy.

Lake Como {Varenna, Italy}

Italian Honeymoon: Part one – Varenna, Lake Como

We flew into Milan and from there we were able to take a train to Lake Como.

Everyone was so nice and helpful, and luckily my super awesome husband was able to learn Italian on the flight over 🙂

We started our 12 day honeymoon in Lago di Como (Lake Como).

This was the view from our  villa in Varenna.
This was the view from our villa in Varenna.

We stayed at Hotel Villa Cipressi. They were so nice and friendly.

This was the first place we stayed on our trip to Italy. It definitely set the bar high!
This was the first place we stayed on our trip. It definitely set the bar high!

Hotel Villa Cipressi sits right on Lake Como.

At Hotel Villa Cipressi in Varenna.
At Hotel Villa Cipressi in Varenna.

…and the views were amazing!!

View from Hotel Villa Cipressi in Varenna, Italy. (Lake Como)
View from Hotel Villa Cipressi in Varenna, Italy. (Lake Como)

We had the only room with a balcony & it was well worth the 175 euros per night.

Our Room
Our Room

We took advantage of the balcony for cocktail hour!

Eating some Pecorino cheese for cocktail hour!
Eating some Pecorino cheese for cocktail hour!

Restaurante La Contrada was part of Hotel Villa Cipressi and we had dinner there our first night. They served us complimentary champagne and the house wine we ordered was amazing!

Note: Contrary to The States, in Italy house wine is the best (it’s made at local vineyards)

Dinner at Restaurante La Contra.
Dinner at Restaurante La Contrada.
We took a ferry to day trip to Lenno. It was so beautiful!!

Ferry ride to Lenno on Lake Como.
Ferry ride to Lenno on Lake Como.
View from the famous villa used in Star Wars 2 and Casino Royale.
View from the famous villa used in Star Wars II and Casino Royale.

This was at the famous VILLA BALBIANELLO featured in the James Bond film “Casino Royale” and also “Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones”.

Villa Balbianello in Lenno, Lake Como
Villa Balbianello in Lenno, Lake Como

I would highly recommend visiting Villa Balbianello in Lenno. The villa was built in the 1500’s and was absolutely breathtaking. It sat right on Lake Como with the most amazing views!

View  of Lake Como from VILLA BALBIANELLO
View of Lake Como from VILLA BALBIANELLO

When we got back to Varenna we stopped for some Gelato! I had the fresh lemon & strawberry and Chad had Pistachio Mousse & Nutella.

Gelato from a local Gelateria.
Gelato from a local Gelateria.

After we finished our delicious gelato, we decided to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Relaxing on a bench in Varenna.
Relaxing on a bench in Varenna.
We had to get another shot of Varenna during the day. The buildings were always so colorful!
Daytime in Varenna, Lake Como
Daytime in Varenna, Lake Como
We had dinner at Restaurante La Vista. We had our own private table out on the balcony. 
Eating Dinner at Restaurante La Vista in Varenna.
This was our view when the sun started to go down at Restaurante La Vista in Varenna.
Our view from Dinner at Restaurante La Vista when the sun started to go down.
Our view from Dinner at Restaurante La Vista.
After drinking a bottle of wine with EVERY meal we had, I decided to spice it up a bit and splurge on a Sangria. It was well worth it!!
Stopped off at the Nilus Bar for a Sangria. One of the best I've ever had!
Stopped off at the Nilus Bar for a Sangria. One of the best I’ve ever had!
We had dinner reservations at Ristorante il Caminetto. The restaurant owners actually came into town to pick us up (and everyone else who had dinner reservations at the same time as us) because their restaurant was up on the mountain top! Talk about excellent customer service! {and experiencing Italian driving at it’s finest}. 
Dinner at Cavillino
Dinner at Ristorante il Caminetto
Chad tried to order a cappuccino (coffee with frothed milk) with dinner. The restaurante owner/chef, Chef Moreno, told Chad that would be an insult to him as the chef. Needless to say, we ordered a bottle of wine instead. They also gave us complementary lemoncello after our meal. It was delicious!!
Dinner at Cavillino in Varenna.
Overall, our stay in Lake Como was relaxing and extremely enjoyable! I would highly recommend it 🙂
Lake Como

Lake Como
Villa Cipressi
Lake Como
NEXT STOP: CASTELROTTO {THE DOLOMITES}