In our first five minutes in Firenze, Florence, in the crappy cheap hotel that had foam beds, we found a brochure for a day trip Vespa riding in Tuscany. We decided to do it! Zorba really wanted to ride at least one Vespa in Italy (as opposed to a normal scooter). We met our tour guide at the front of McDonalds near the train station and jumped in a 9-seater van with 5 other Aussies. We were taken about an hour out of Florence to a small country town where we picked up our Vespas. They only had one Vespa – so I let Zorba ride it, after doing a practice lap on the gravel road and deciding that the Vespa was made for style, not performance. On the gravel that little 50cc Vespa with small wheels felt like it was sliding all over the place. I chose a Piaggio Liberty 50cc with bigger wheels. Mine was speedy!
The tour is designed for those who have never ridden before, so we had to be a little bit patient while each individual did practice laps and asked the guide questions he had already answered about how to ride…. Zorba was the most impatient and kept taking a different scooter and zooming around the little practice circuit. He even took the guide’s scooter! That was funny! The guide starts stressing out – “no no noooo you caaarnt huva my scooterrrrr…!” Zorba explained he was just practising, having a go, with a big smile, and all was ok.
We started the ride about 10km from Sienna and rode to Monteriggioni – a tiny walled cute medieval town. It was baking hot, melting hot, so we only stopped there for about 30 minutes, enough time to have a granita limone and look at the swords for sale in the medieval shop. We then rode to Castellina in Chianti, stopping along the way to take photos, take in the view, and make sure everyone (else) was ok.
Because Zorba and I were the only ones that had riding experience, the guides didn’t bother us too much. And we had a ball. We would hang back and be the last ones to leave a place where we’d stopped, then zoom up, overtaking the single file of novice scooter riders and slot in behind the guide.
Riding in Tuscany was so beautiful. Rolling green hills carpeted with lines of vineyards, cute stone villas and farmhouses almost punctuating the scenery. It was truly gorgeous. Different to riding along the Amalfi coast where we had ocean views almost the entire time. But just as pretty. We are both really looking forward to having a car and driving through Tuscany and spending some more time there.
By 2pm our riding time was over, sadly, and our guide took us to a really cool place in the countryside for lunch followed by a swim. Lunch consisted of three kinds of bruschetta –porcini mushrooms, cheese, and tomato, white bread with ricotta or salmon, a Tuscan bread salad with tomatoes and celery, pasta salad with pesto (which i didn’t rate), and taglioni pasta with ragu – like huge macceroni or cannoli pasta tubes cut in half. It was mostly delicious and the local red and white wines very quaffable.
It was still stinking hot after lunch and the pool at the lunch stop was calling. The pool was very refreshing and just what we needed. Then it was time to head back to our palatial hotel in Florence. A great fun day that we will both remember forever.