The Fiat Cinqecento tour of the Tuscan countryside was a blast. Driving a vintage Cinqecento was a bit daunting at first—the cramped interior, rough ride, the non-sequential gearbox, the stiff clutch and the glorified lawnmower engine meant being extra vigilant about the car and your driving. But after a short while one becomes quickly accustomed to this truly unique driving experience. Let’s face it, this is what REAL driving is all about. Offsetting the challenges of the car is its go kart like handling which makes maneuvering through the tight (and I do mean TIGHT) roads all that much more fun. Although the Tuscan countryside is only minutes away, the Cinqecento’s slower engine means a longer and more scenic and enjoyable drive. We stopped at several locations that provided wonderful views of the countryside and of Florence itself (great photo ops). In our group that day were three cars and two Vespas (one ridden by our guide, Freddy, an American expat). The weather that day was sunny and warm, making the drive that much more pleasant. It was not without incidents however—a detached battery lead in our car led to stalling in the middle of an intersection, which meant several anxious minutes until Freddy came to our rescue. He quickly got the car out of harms’ way and fixed the problem and we were on our way shortly. Later on, a couple on the Vespa had an unsolicited contact with a ditch and then a wall, resulting in some skinned knees and hands. Fortunately the accident happened right outside a daycare and the nurse inside patched up the wounds quickly. We ended the half-day tour with a light lovely lunch of meats and cheeses and wine. Highly recommend for driving enthusiasts. (P.S. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, you must know how to drive stick for this tour.)
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