My outfit is a two-piece from Pinup Parade... gypsy chic!
The second day of our trip was the Big One. This was the day that we (and by we, I mean I) were going to be driving one of Andrea and Guiseppe's magnificent vintage Fiat 500s throughout the Tuscan countryside. The 500 Touring Club was go!
Everything about the 500 Touring club is cute and small, from the kitsch clubhouse to the cars themselves. The fleet is in a glorious rainbow of colours... and choosing which one was simultaneously hard and easy, for there could only be one choice for us two vintage mavens, innit.
Naomi's shorts (& earlier jeans) are Freddies of Pinewood
After a quick lesson on double-clutching in the open topped (and open-backed... and engineless) practice car, it was time to pick our ride. As mentioned, there was only one choice, really. So... Paola was our companion for the day! Lipstick red and equipped with such futuristic gadgets as a screen-wash pump, she was created in revolutionary late 60s Italy... so she's over 40 and certainly doesn't look it!
As the only driver in our pairing, it was me, rather nervously, behind the wheel. We were joined by a friendly American couple, both Italy enthusiasts; and a British couple celebrating their wedding anniversary.
My fears soon disappeared (not least because I managed to drive her straight up the hill to the Villa, whereas the American chap driving yellow Giacomo had more trouble.. and he is a classic car enthusiast! First stop on our little tour of the area was an amazing viewpoint, site of the San Miniato church. The inside of this magnificent 11th temple was too dark for me to snap anything worth showing off, but it was breathtaking. Naomi spent a fair bit of time soaking up the atmosphere, where I tried to capture the amazing Florentine vista before me. The cars, far down below, were attracting a lot of attention, as you can see here!
From the church, we took to winding and extremely narrow country roads (much easier to navigate in a teeny weeny Fiat than a normal, modern car, let me tell you), only to be greeted by amazing view after amazing view.
Andrea is full of interesting stories, and as we stopped at this breathtaking view, she told how the great frost of January 1985 killed almost every single one of the hundreds of thousands of olive trees in Tuscany. A dark time for all, and even now, the trees are small. No less beautiful for it, of course! And the dome you can just about make out behind Naomi belongs to the Arcetri Observatory. Though Noms looks like the bigger star if you ask me...
The best bit of the whole ride was when we (well, not me) were allowed to stand up out of the cars to take pictures. As the red caboose, bringing up the rear, this afforded us some good photo opportunities before parking up back 'home', at the marvellous Villa Le Piazzole.
The second part of the tour, you see, was yet more delicious food and wonderful wine!
The Villa produces its own small batches of wine and olive oil, both of which are to die for. Whilst indulging in yet more meat, parmesan cheese, bruscetta and Florentine chicken liver paté (which was sublime), Guiseppe gave us a tour of the cellars and the facilities, as well as the whole skinny on the red and white wines... chardonnay, pinot blanc and cabernet sauvignon - unusual wines for Italy, and amazingly good even to my relatively untrained palate.
I can't recommend the tour and tasting enough - it was an utterly brilliant day from start to finish. It's a sheer pleasure to spend a day being taught new and wonderful things about the area and about food and wine by such knowledgeable people. Andrea and Guiseppe, I salute you!
A short burst of pool business later...
Playsuit from good old Matalan
Tourists-are-us, looking at nude statues of gods...
Outfit facts: Naomi's skirt is vintage, my outfit came from Pinup Parade! See sponsors at the side...
I leave you for today with one of my other favourite things of the day, the famous Florence Martini sign. In the day, this looks like nothing so much as a rickety old relic - dating from the 1950s and still going strong in an era when large, illuminated signs are no longer allowed. But at night, it's like a beacon of vintage cool, beaming out between the buildings near the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Which we sadly never had time to visit. But this was a wonderful sight all in itself.
Until next time, when I regale you with our final day in Tuscany, arrivederci! And do have a shufti at the 500 Touring Club, both their site and their Facebook page... I honestly couldn't rate it any more highly.