So after 3 nights in beautiful Florence we headed off to our next accommodation spot Villa San Fabiano. Rachel was our gracious hostess and place had all we needed, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and WiFi. We went into the local small town to purchase fresh fish and pasta and made good use of the well equipped kitchen. This was our base for 3 nights as we took in many sites nearby. We drove through the hillsides enjoying the views, stopping to look at the flowers and other natural sites. We made visits to Montalcino, Montepulciano, Ascano, San Gimignano, Volterra and Sienna. Having had our fill of galleries in Florence we concentrated more on the architecture and history of these towns. Highlights being a walk around the castle walls at Montalcino at sunset and the character and colors of San Gimignano. But most amazing is that each town has its own unique style of piazza (town square). At each one we sat and absorbed the "vibes" of the place (usually accompanied by one of gelato, beer or coffee). The piazza in Sienna is sensational, so different yet comforting, as is the gelato from the local World Champion. We went to a vineyard (Terra di Seta) in the region for a tour, explanation and sampling of the local Chianti, and yet again the breathtaking views and serene surroundings kept our attention for hours. Finally it was time to drive back to Milan, return the hire car and get some sleep in an airport hotel before flying out early in the morning. 9 nights and eight full days was perfect, enough to see and do what we had planned yet leave us with a longing to return. All in all it was great trip, that didn't cost us an arm and a leg. We researched and planned before booking flights, car and accommodation well in advance. Easy jet was both cheap, efficient and on time. Most importantly we never felt as though we were wasting valuable time nor did we have to scratch around for things to do. We were most fortunate with the weather, barely a cloud and only one day with a bit of drizzle. People were friendly and always willing to offer advice.