Traveling with Massi the Driver

September 22, 2020

Massi the Driver, Massimiliano Mori, became my personal escort for exploration of Tuscany around Siena. Massi has lived his entire life in and near Siena. Getting to know him as we traveled was an extra bonus.

 Massi, along with his partner, Deb Larsen, are the dynamic duo you may know as Italy Unfiltered. Massi has his own business as a professional driver whereas they work together on Italy Unfiltered, helping travelers explore wineries, olive oil fields, and more. We three had a wonderful time together. 

Come along and see.

First, I settled into my Agritursimo for my stay in the Crete Senesi area of Tuscany, south of Siena. This dry, multi-colored landscape is like a rolling desert sprinkled with crops seasonally and homes scattered within the open spaces. 

Agriturismo Le Crete rested upon the highest hill within sight.

How would you like to enjoy your breakfast here?

Caterina met me with a welcome basket upon arrival.

Caterina never mentioned that the owner of my home for the next three nights was Silvano Vigni, better known as Bastiano, one of the most renowned  horse racers in the Siena Palio. Maybe we will meet him.

Inside the one-bedroom apartment I found a lovely eat-in kitchen, living area, large bedroom and bath. 

It had everything one could need. The only drawback I found was the fact that their internet service did NOT work well within the apartment. Otherwise, it was lovely.

After dropping off my luggage, Massi took me to his and Deb’s home where we opened a bottle of wine, laughed and talked. 

Their surroundings are breathtaking.

The hills, the colors, the landscape are striking.

Massi made dinner,

Risotto with sausage and ham, parsley and lime shavings that was exquisite. We planned our time to visit across the area and, after a night’s sleep, we headed out to explore.

First stop Chiusure,  a small town not far from where Massi and Deb live. 

Looking over the cliff edge of town down into the crevasse, it is easy to believe that this landscape was once underwater. It is stunning.

After a bit of exploration in the quaint hill town, we move on to a more spiritual spot.

Who’s up for a Monastery? We visited Abbazia Monte Oliveto Maggiore, a medieval center set in the woods.

The Abbey is a Benedictine establishment and has been inhabited by monks and guests for over 700 years. 

Guests are allowed to stay overnight in rooms as well as camping in tents. It is a wonderful place to relax, think, enjoy the fresh air, and clear your mind. 

It’s also a place where you can purchase herbal treatments created by the monks—I did—and then there is the wine.

They’ve been making wine for 700 years too, including sacramental wine used during mass.

Do you think the monks would sell us this cask, full? They have more. Maybe next time.

After the monastery, I asked Massi if we can drop in somewhere for wine tasting next. He called a few places and we found one with availability at Casanova di Neri.

Since Massi was driving, only I was able to taste the wine.

There is quite a selection. I ended up purchasing the three below.

No time to drink it now. We are headed for another wine locale, Montacino.

The drive was easy on the eyes.

So much history, so much beauty.

We left Crete Senesi behind and moved into Val d’Orcia.

Montalcino is a traditional, medieval town with extra character.

The castle walls stand high above the valley. Where once there were warriors behind those walls, now there is a park where families picnic.

The winding roads carry us through this beautiful town, known for wine tasting and excellent meals.

I loved the way the shadows cooled my body and soul as we wandered.

We stopped here for a bit of coffee and a view.

Take a peek out this window.

The surroundings were just as gorgeous as the town.


Those satellite dishes look so out of place on the medieval, stone structures.

Let’s continue our stroll through the town.

What a door! 

And more!


All these doors!

Lonely strolls along some nearly empty streets.

Steep staircases,

Silent monuments,

Flags, and few people. 

The Brunello wine consortium of Montalcino upholds the standards for this tasty wine.

Steep paths to the top.

After all this walking, it is time for Massi the Driver to take over. And the day will soon come to a close.

Before leaving this area and returning home, we had one last stop to make. 

Deb, Massi and I visited one of the most photographed locales in Italy, Agriturismo Baccoleno and the long, winding street lined with cypress trees.

This is private property. Yet many of us are here with our cameras.

Deb and Massi told me that in order to see it with green ground covering you must visit between mid-March and the end of April.

I may need to go back during that time next year. 

We headed away to catch the sunset from Deb and Massi’s favorite spot.

The sunset’s colors are magnificent over this stark, rolling landscape. It is my last memory of my time with Deb and Massi. See you again soon. 

If you, my friends, would like to meet Massi the Driver or enlist the services of Italy Unfiltered when you can return to Italy, please let me know. Let me help. Until then, stay healthy and dream of Italy.

A dopo!

Ciao for now!

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