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Last summer, we spent an unforgettable week in Italy with the kids. We chose to concentrate in the Tuscany region because it’s made up of stunning countryside and distinguished cities, which makes it the perfectly balanced trip for families with kids. This first post of our trip will go into the details of our first 3 days in the south of Tuscany, including Perugia in the Umbria region.
Day 1 – Chianti
We landed at Pisa Airport. It was nice to fly into this airport because it’s smaller than the Florence airport, so the arrival was quick and easy. I was hoping to see the Tower of Pisa from the plane, we didn’t, but we got to see it up close a few days later when we returned to this area.
As soon as we got our luggage, we picked up a rental car and we were on our way to the famous Chianti region to tour the Antinori Winery. You can reserve the tour a few weeks before your trip to guarantee a spot. The tour was fun and very informative. We picked to tour this winery because aside from having really good wines, the architecture of the place is very impressive.
Then we had lunch at “Officina della Bisteca” in Panzano. If you love meat, and you really have to love meat to eat here, I highly recommend this place. Make reservations a few weeks before our trip. It is a family butchery and they have a restaurant with an all-you-can-eat 5-course meat menu with some sides.
You can learn more about the owner, Dario Cecchini, in an episode of Chef’s Table (Season 6, Episode 2) where they tells the story of how a guy who wanted to be a veterinarian turned into the world’s most famous butcher. We watched the show with the kids before our trip.
After our succulent lunch, we headed to our 2-bedroom apartment in Casa Vacanze La Fiorita. We like to stay in apartments/homes instead of hotels because we are all together in one unit, but we have more space and we usually have a room separate from the kids.
This particular place we loved because it’s a cute family owned farmhouse, very nice and accommodating people, very few guests. It also had a pool to relax in the afternoon, air conditioning (a must in the summer), a full kitchen to cook a delicious meal one night and enjoy it outside on their beautiful grounds.
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the pool, unpacking and enjoying some Italian wine.
Day 2 – Cortona and Perugia
The next morning we went on a Truffle Hunting Experience in Cortona, you can only do this in a few places of the world, and Tuscany is probably one of the best. We went with Andrea and his amazing dog Brie, a Lagotto Romagnolo, specifically bred for truffle hunting. We learned a little bit about this dog breed. We also learned so much about truffles, the different kinds of truffles and the seasons, and how most commercial “truffle” products are not made with real truffles. We had a delicious breakfast in the woods that consisted of bread, cheese and an omelette freshly made with the truffles we collected.
After our truffle hunting experience, we walked around the charming town of Cortona for about an hour, we visited some shops and took some pictures of the astonishing views of Tuscany. Cortona sits up on a hill, so the views from the main plaza are really amazing.
Then we headed to Perugia, in the Umbria region, to visit the Perugina chocolate factory. Book a factory tour ahead of time, it was a fun and informational experience, and we got to try all the flavors of Bacci they have, even some limited edition.
We spend the rest of the day visiting the Historic Center of Perugia and walking its underground city. This completed our first two days of our amazing to Tuscany with the kids.
Day 3 – Bagno San Filippo and Pienza
The springs at San Filippo are gorgeous! They are easy to get to, they are busy, but not too crowded and access is free. An astonishing setting of calciferous formations, waterfalls and natural pools of warm water nested in the woods make this a unique place to visit.
After a short hike down from the road, we reached the massive formation called the “Balena Bianca” (The White Whale), for its similarity to the mouth of a whale.
We then enjoyed bathings in the pools directly below the White Whale waterfall. At the bottom of these pools, there is thermal mud, that is excellent for face and body masks, so we covered ourselves in mud, no picture of that 😝 and we enjoyed the fun natural beauty treatment.
Then we visited a cheese farm in Pienza, Podere il Casale, in the guided tour, we got to see what it means to live in a farm, we saw all the animals from donkeys to sheep, and we learned the story of the place.
We could not leave hungry, of course, so we eat a delicious early dinner outdoors in their terrace enjoying the view of Tuscany (first picture of this post).
The Tuscany region in Italy is really beautiful, we still talk about our trip and fun time visiting Pienza, Chianti, Cortona and Perugia.
I will be writing another post soon for the rest of our trip in the north part of Tuscany (Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Lucca, Pisa, and Cinque Terre) including a pasta-making cooking class.