Day 23: Mike's birthday!

Mike's birthday is today! It is the second day we are at the beautiful Villa Vignamaggio. We had an earlier start because we were booked for horsebackriding today in a nearby vineyard, so we caught the complimentary buffet breakfast (which included chocolate filled croissants, crepes, tarts, yogurt, fruit, cheese and cured meats). 

This is the othe vineyard about 5 minutes away where we were doing the horsebackriding we booked through the hotel. It is so beautiful here. We are situated in a little valley just surrounded by vineyards. And at night time, there are only a few speckles of other homes in the distance with a bright starry sky. Pretty different from the city of Florence we just came from. 

Here were the 4 horses. Our riding instructor and also the owner of the vineyard was named Eva and she was Swedish. Barely a hint of an accent and she could speak in German to the other woman that was riding with us who was from Munich ( along with Swedish and probably French). 

Mike got the laid back and powerful Pedro, while I got the high energy and snack sneaker Felicia (she had to grab a snack whenever we walked by a fresh path of long grass). 

Mike and Pedro. 

Had to. 

Here was our dog friend that followed us all the way from where the horses started. She was Eva's dog as well. It was such a beautiful place. 

We worked up our appetite and grabbed lunch. Mike had the lemon chicken. 

And I had the cod. It was really fantastic. 

The gardens are immaculately manicured. 

The villa was very old. Which we learned a lot about the history of the place later on during the wine tour.

We had the wine tour before the tasting and the tour host showed is their operation.

They had a bottle from 1967 in here. But that wasn't their oldest. 

We learned on the tour that a movie was filmed here with Keeanu Reeves, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, Emma Thompson, and Kate Beckingsale called Much to Do About Nothing made back in 1991. This was also a place where Leonardo Di Vinci painted and got his inspiration for the Mona Lisa, in which Mona Lisa Gheraldini herself lived here at Vignamaggio for some time. This is why they are able to put Mona Lisa's name on their Chianti Classico. 

Then we had the tasting. With cheese and cured meat of course. 

At dusk we went out with our other Nikon camera before dinner reservations.

We haven't had time to go through the photos on there but we have already snapped a couple thousand. It will be very hard to choose. 

But this place is very photogenic. 

Literally cannot take a bad photo.

We had dinner reservations here at the villa where the view was stunning.

Birthday boy had a fantastic day I think. Cheers a new year of love and adventure!

Read next: Day 24 & 25: B&B in Tuscany and Bellissimo Venice


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