After reading Tage's 'Riding in Tuscany' thread (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=291799) for several years, it was time to head to Tuscany myself to see what all the fuss was about. I knew I couldn't do a trip like that without taking my wife, Sandy, along. She isn't quite as keen on riding as I am and was reluctant to spend 2 weeks on the back of a bike as I explored lean angles and traction coefficients. So, we reached a compromise: we would rent a car for the first two weeks, then she would fly home and I would spend another week on a bike. I can work with that. So, this report will include an abbreviated opening section on our first two weeks together in this: We had been saving our points for a few years and since Toronto to Rome was about an 8-9 hour flight, we thought we'd treat ourselves and fly 'up front': It really does spoil you. It's great to be able to lay flat and get some real sleep: It was a great flight and we flew over Monaco on our way to Rome: We picked up the Mazda MX-5 at the Fiumicino Airport and headed north. Our first night was spent in Scansano, a small hill town a few hours north of Rome. We had our first of many great pizzas here. Nice thin crust, simple, fresh toppings: We also indulged in lots of 'dolce' on this trip: And of course, a bit of this: We found the house wines to be good and cheap; usually 6-10 Euros for a litre. The next morning we got up late. Probably a combination of the jet-lag and the fact that the shutters on our room let in no light at all. We missed breakfast but at check-out, the desk clerk asked if we wanted cafe and he quickly whipped up a couple of cappuccinos and a few cookies. Very helpful and civilized: On our way to Florence (Firenze), we stopped at the roofless Abbey at San Galgano: Our first stereotypical Tuscan scene: the cypress-lined lane leading to the hilltop villa surrounded by vineyards and olive groves: Next stop: Firenze.