Whenever I think of a perfect day in Tuscany, my mind takes me to a hot summers day riding through the country side in a cute 50s style Fiat, wind in my hair and the hot Mediterranean sun beaming down on me. I dreamt of basking in the sun with a cheese platter and a bottle of wine beside me, harvested from the surrounding grape vines all while channeling my inner Audrey Hepburn.
Finally, this Italian dream has come true!
I went on a ride with 500 Touring Club in Florence exploring the Tuscan countryside, discovering wine, vintage cars and beautiful scenery. We explored the Tuscan countryside, stopping off at various lookout points along the way to a Renaissance Villa!
The iconic Fiat 500 car represents all of Italy and driving it takes you back to an authentic living experience – where nobody thinks of the woes, only the now!
We met at 11.30am at the 500 Touring Club clubhouse, a short bus or taxi ride south from the city’s hustle and bustle. We started by choosing our cars (each with cute Italian names).
Meet, Topsy, a 1967 vintage Fiat 500 with gorgeous cream interior.
We also met our guide Niccolo who lead our group, and made friends with another couple who were participating in the tour with us. Next we were taught how to use the cars and all questions were answered, immediately giving us confidence and reassurance that driving a vintage car through Italy can actually be an easy task! I decided that I didn’t want to drive (being from Australia, we drive on the left hand side with the clutch stick on the left too, which is opposite to Europe) and I also wanted to take millions of pictures along the way, which probably isn’t a safe thing to do whilst driving, therefore we got to ride along with Niccolo, who gave us an authentic driving experience.
Buckled up and rearing to go, we began the convoy, starting our ride through the Tuscan countryside, amongst beautiful olive trees and vineyards. I looked off into the distance and as far as I could see were Tuscan villas, soft rolling hills and trails of olive trees- not a care in the world to be had. With the streets quiet in the Tuscan countryside, this means that you don’t have to deal with the notorious Italian road rage too, phew! The other couple drove the car themselves and managed extremely well, proving that driving a vintage car can be an easy task.
At our stopping points, Niccolo told us stories about Italian food, wine and traditional customs. His passion for these cars and Italian culture was undeniable! Along the way we stopped at a terracotta factory, and a view point over looking Chianti. Niccolo told us about how terracotta is the perfect material for housing in the summer, because it stays cool even in the heat. He also explained the process of making olive oil, picking seasons and when to know if the olive oil has gone bad.
I couldn’t help but feel at ease, relaxed and peaceful amongst this beautiful scenery.
Our final stop was at a Tuscan Renaissance Villa, as it was time for lunch (which was all included in the price of the tour). The villa produces its own award-winning red and white wine, and olive oil. When we first arrived at the Tuscan Renaissance Villa, I immediately never wanted to leave. It had everything including a gorgeous blue pool with a view of the countryside, a well kept garden with little tables and chairs to relax at, and more.
The wines on offer were all from the local vineyard and we got to try two reds, a white and a dessert wine, which all really complimented the food we were eating. We were offered a selection of antipasto including cheese, prosciutto, salami, bruschetta and a traditional Tuscan pate, all extremely fresh and made from scratch – once again linking back to a traditional Italian lifestyle, where ingredients are hand made and locally grown. If you have any dietary requirements the 500 Touring Club team are sure to take care of it. For me, a wonderful gluten free meal was prepared with homemade gluten free bread, which was amazing!
If you’d like to participate in a tour with 500 Touring Club check out their website here. The tour we participated in was the Wine Tasting Tour for 95€ and started at 11.30am until about 4pm. You get your own private vintage Fiat 500 car to drive, a professional tour guide, along with a light lunch and wine tasting! The best part is that the ‘tour’ is casual and relaxed, which makes it a fun day out with friends rather than a rigid or structured tour!
You can find more information on 500 Touring Club website here.
If you’re in Florence for a few days I definitely recommend you give one of their tours a go! Catch the bus 39 from Piazza Santa Maria Novella or get a cab from the centre to meet at their clubhouse in the hills of Tuscany.
What a day! Captivating all things Italian, I would give the 500 Touring Club wine tours a 5 star rating. Surrounded by the beautiful Tuscan countryside, it felt like I had literally just pulled a scene from a movie out into real life! I cannot recommend this tour enough; it was an absolute blast and is everything that anyone comes to Italy for – a laid-back lifestyle, beautiful scenery and fantastic wine and food!
Next time you’re in Florence be sure to check out 500 Touring Club and get swept away living ‘la dolce vita!
Keep an eye out for our video review coming soon!