the cellars at san polo

Get the Most out of the Route from Rome to Florence

The route from Rome to Florence is a well-beaten path, pounded daily by Italians and tourists alike. I myself have done it mostly by the fast trains that get me from one city to the other in under an hour and a half with the luring Tuscan countryside speeding past the window. These trains are ideal when I’ve got to get to Rome for a nighttime dinner date after an afternoon browsing the halls of the Uffizi, but they don’t do much to foster any chances of exploration of my favorite part of that area…the Tuscan wineries and the food that’s in between.

the cellars at san polo
The cellars at San Polo, Montalcino

Several of the most beautiful wineries making the best wines from most well-known wine region in Italy are located on that route, and to miss the chance to stop at one for me is missing an essential piece of the authentic Tuscan experience. So on my most recent venture to the middle of the boot, I chose to skip the train and instead began an adventure into the world of Tuscan food and wine.

As not one to take any risk when it comes to mixing driving with wine, renting a car was out.  Instead, I turned to a chauffeured transfer and planned a 10-hour day stopping at my favorite food and wine spots en route from Rome to Florence, making my way through the sun-kissed hills and sparkling glasses of wine.

dario cecchini macelleria
Dario Cecchini at his Macelleria in Panzano

The day began early in Rome as my driver slung the heavy bags I am notoriously known for carrying into the trunk and we set off for our first destination, the home of one of the most elegant wines made in Italy. Montalcino is a prime example of a Tuscan medieval town, with its imposing fortress and sturdy city walls, but it is best known for its age-worthy elegant Brunello di Montalcino wine. This noble wine made from the Sangiovese has captured the hearts of wine aficionados in the last 30 years and continues to top the charts in wine rankings worldwide. My stop was at the San Polo estate, the avant-garde, eco-friendly estate that was founded as a join project of renowned winemaker Marilisa Allegrini and the top importer of Italian wines in the United States, Leonardo LoCascio. The tour of the hallowed grounds, cellar, and tasting of wines takes about two hours, and by the time we leave I’m ready for lunch.

 Thankfully,  I had penciled in a layover at Panzano in Chianti, home of the World’s Best Butcher, Dario Cecchini. As the eighth generation in a line of Tuscan butchers, Dario has built quite a name for himself in the world of Food and Wine on both sides of the Atlantic, and the only thing that exceeds the size of this larger than life character is the welcoming you receive when you enter the door. A peek into his macelleria before a hearty lunch of the freshest meats (even though the menu does include vegetarian options!) satisfies hunger and when we leave the area mid-afternoon, I’m ready to go for some more wine.

Tignanello with two glasses of wine
Tignanello, the Super Tucan superstar

My last destination is one that never fails to excite – a rare chance to experience the King of Super Tuscan wines, Marchese Antinori. Currently in their 26th generation of winemaking, this reputable family – Piero Antinori is known as the father of the Super Tuscan – recently opened a cantina in the Chianti Classico, where guests can tour the cellars and taste celebrated wines such as Tignanello and Badia a Passignano. And after wrapping up at the cantina, I hopped in the car to arrive at my Florence hotel before sundown.

This utterly satisfying day full of beautiful scenery, rustic cuisine, and fantastic wines is my version of a perfect trip from Rome to Florence, and one we strive to create for our clients on a daily basis. Experience the real route from Rome to Florence by visiting our custom trip planner or by contacting our experienced travel consultants at