Right! It was time to spend the bank holiday the right way again. We took the car out and drove to the Chianti area. Much of the drive was lovely, but there were no obvious spots to pull in and take shots, sadly.

The first town we visited was Castellina in Chianti, and for me, it is the best town in the area (we also visited Greve and Montefioralle before – the latter is a hamlet and is gorgeous – I didn’t blog about them, sadly). We found a handy carpark near the old town, but it was at the bottom of a slope – so we winced when we heard the bottom bumper scrape a little off the asphalt.

We got out, and took a stroll around. It seems to embrace its position in the Chianti area a bit more readily than some other towns. The Chianti Cockerel was to be seen everywhere.

We found a restaurant (Taverna Squarcialupi), with a lovely view outside (although we ate indoors due to them having air conditioning). The highlights were Niamh’s stuffed zucchini flowers and my pici with Chianina beef ragu. The latter came with a mini-jug of Chianti sauce on the side. Yum, although my gastritis and anxiety were preventing me from enjoying myself fully.

After we ate, we had a look at their wine cellar – nifty!

Their wine-tasting room (above, bottom left) was lovely!

We explored a little bit more of the town afterwards.

We got back in the car, then, and drove 20 minutes to Radda in Chianti – a smaller town, but lovely for all that.

There was an art exhibition in the town hall. Last year, we encountered the artist in Monteriggione, and were delighted he seems to be coming up in the world. His was exhibiting with his brother. He paints, but he also draws exquisitely just using Bic pens. We bought the one on the left from him last year – the medium was a Bic pen. It’s hanging in our apartment. The other was part of the exhibition. A talented guy. Unfortunately, he was busy with prospective clients, so we didn’t get a chance to talk to him – but we chatted with his brother for a moment.

After we stopped off at a gelateria, and I had a lemon sorbet – Niamh opted for nothing. It tasted so-so, but it did its job of cooling me down.

On the way home we stopped for two photo-ops. One on the way back to Castellina:

And yet another stop at the O, on the Siena road, much closer to home. The views were gorgeous there, as always.

Check out the hi-res version of the pano shot here.

And then home, and a night in watching telly… and cooling down!

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