A Day in the Tuscan Countryside: Family Pasta-Making at Agriturismo Al Gelso Bianco + A Tour of San Gimignano

One of the highlights of our recent trip to Florence was a day trip into the Tuscan countryside for a family-friendly pasta-making class at Al Gelso Bianco, a boutique family resort. Al Gelso Bianco has the most idyllic setting in the Tuscan hills, and the drive there from Florence was so scenic.

I wanted to do a pasta-making class with my daughter while we were in Italy, but I wanted a class where she could really participate, rather than just standing around and watching the adults cook. The family pasta-making class at Al Gelso Bianco fit the bill perfectly. Our teacher Susanna was absolutely wonderful with our 4 year old and involved her at every step in the process from chopping vegetables to mixing dough to using the pasta machine.

While our pasta cooked, we had time to explore the grounds of the property. There was a playground my daughter enjoyed, and we took a short walk to visit their chickens. Al Gelso Bianco also has a winery on site and we were offered the opportunity to try their wines while we waited for lunch.

Then we returned for our pasta feast. We had spinach ravioli in a light tomato sauce, tagliatelle with pesto sauce and gnocchi gnudi, as well as roasted vegetables, focaccia and apple cake for dessert. Susanna is the one who deserves most of the credit, but it was a fabulous meal. You’ll get all the recipes and a souvenir apron to take home.

Italians are well known for their warmth and hospitality, but we felt especially welcomed at Al Gelso Bianco and would love to return to this special property for a longer stay some day.

On the way back to Florence we stopped at the medieval walled city of San Gimignano (this was at the suggestion of the Al Gelso Bianco staff, who arranged our transport).

San Gimignano is incredible! The historical center is a UNESCO world heritage site, with many buildings dating from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Because San Gimignano is on a hill, you have great views of the surrounding countryside.

We were fortunate to visit in March, when the weather was warm enough to comfortably walk around but before the summer crowds descended. We were “Under the Tuscan Clouds” but I thought the dramatic skies made it all the more beautiful.

The highlight of our visit to San Gimignano was climbing the bell tower. It’s a relatively easy climb compared to the Duomo in Florence (although little kids will probably still need some help up) and you’re rewarded with sweeping views of the surrounding area.

Falling in love with Tuscany is basically the biggest cliche in travel at this point, but I can’t help it – I was totally smitten by this part of Italy, and I can’t wait to come back and spend more time here.

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