Day 9 – Florence

Second Day in Florence – Monday, May 15, 2017

With a free breakfast option, most of the group met close to 6:50 a.m. in Ostello Archi Rossi’s dining room to eat before we left for the bus station. The bus station was about a five minute walk from the hotel, and our bus left at 7:25 a.m.

As a group, we walked over to the station and only had to wait just a little while before we boarded the bus to take us to the Villa Mangiacane in Tuscany for our final wine tasting on the trip. The bus ride lasted for nearly 45 minutes, and we arrived at our stop. To our dismay, the bus stop for the villa changed from last year, and we had to walk uphill for nearly two miles to get to the villa. But once we arrived, we forgot about our hike.

The Villa Mangiacane was beautiful. On our tour, we learned that it covers nearly 500 acres of land, and harvests one of the rare types of grapes available in the area. It was originally owned by the family of Niccolo Machiavelli, author of “The Prince” from 1550, and learned that it has been standing since World War II. The Mangiacane forest was the halfway mark of the allied and enemy soldiers during the war. When the villa went under reconstruction, the workers found old muskets, helmets, and bullets in bunkers from the war.  

The group was able to walk down into the vineyard to see the grapes, and how they’re picked for harvesting. Our host was careful to not give away any secrets specific to their process, which made the experience even more mysterious and fun. After the tour, we were led to a private room for the final tasting.

During the tasting, we tried three different wines paired with unsalted bread, salami and prosciutto with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. The favorite of the group was the Shamiso wine, a delicate pink roscato or rose. Almost each person from our group bought at least one bottle as a souvenir. We took a group photo in front of the vineyard following the end of our tasting, and made our exit. Luckily, the departure bus stop was close by so we had a short wait and we were on our way back to Florence.

Once we got back to the hotel, we all split up to go shop and have a bite to eat. Some even went back to take a nap. About 13 members of our group met up later that night and decided to go to Corello Bosetto for drinks and YAB for dancing.

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