Even in rainy first light, Tuscany is beautiful, and the views from our windows remain wonderful. But yesterday started bright and dry, and we set off over the hills via Asciano by backroads to Montalcino to meet up with a friend. The sign-posting of Italian roads is characteristically awful even on major roads. And they here don’t seem to have an equivalent either of the wonderful Ordnance Survey maps. So using backroads has in the past been a recipe for getting lost, getting cross, and (shall we say) disharmony in the car. But we’ve the use of a sat-nav system for a while. It quite unproblematically got us took us via a very circuitous route which we’d never have attempted before, well off the beaten track, over the hills south-east of Siena. I’m an instant convert: a must buy for Italy.
As always, the last mile or so climbing up to Montalcino itself was stunning, worth the journey in itself. (And if, when you get there, you want somewhere to eat more than a snack but less than a big lunch, try the Enoteca Osteria Osticcio in Via Matteoti. The tables inside at the back have the most wonderful panoramic views over miles and miles of countryside, the people are friendly, and food very good.)