Leon and I stopped in two places on our way to Rome from Florence and thought they deserved an honorable mention.
We didn’t want to take the long way to Rome so Leon threw me his phone and told me to find a place to stop for a glass of wine along the A1 Autostrada. After a 5 minute Google search, I settled on Altarocca Wine resort, located by Umbria, Italy. Unfortunately, my directional skills are less than par and I missed the turn-off to go up the paved hill to our destination. The map showed another way around, so I went with that. Within minutes into this second route we found ourselves creeping up a bumpy dirt path that scaled a rural mountain. We were both freaking out because the road, err- trail, was awfully narrow and extremely rocky with no places to turn around. We trudged on with Leon saying “oh shit” the entire way; certainly a rock was going to pop one of our little feeble Fiat tires. 20 minutes into bush whacking, the brush parted ways and we passed the cutest little house perched on the mountain. After this, the road was much better and we finally got to our destination (our blue car was now light brown). We were pleasantly surprised. For blindly choosing a spot to stop at, we hit the jackpot. This winery was a “wine resort” with a beautiful pool deck and bar looking over the Tuscan landscape. We asked the employees working on the pool deck where we could go for a drink (because surely the pool was just for people who are staying at the resort), but no, they told us to sit at a table and they served us right there as we absorbed the view. We tried 4 different wines, whites and reds and loved each one of them. This place is a gem! At around €140 a night, we will surely be staying the next time we visit.
Not far from Altarocca wine resort we spotted the majestic city of Orvieto, perched atop of a rocky mountain. This was our second destination. The drive had us spiraling around the cobblestone city walls of Orvieto. This was nothing like I had ever seen. Inside the walls of the town things were very quiet, however little crowds of people gathered to admire the stunning medieval Cathedral which was adorned with beautiful mosaics. We walked around a bit but had to retreat back to the car as it was SCORCHING hot, but not before snapping a couple pictures.
Besides all of the casualties stuck to our windshield, the terrain between Florence and Rome was beautiful as it whizzed by my window at 140 kph.