In an effort to get photos off my camera and into the world comes this post!
Florence is the capital of Italy's idyllic Tuscan region and shows off the centre of Italian renaissance- from stunning architecture to its world class art and of course, its undeniable cuisine- it is as breathtaking as it is historic.
And as an aside, I shall (embarrassingly) admit that I was IN A MOOD for the first few days of this beautiful trip. Which for those who know me and my normally sunny disposition is unusual (Adam is rolling his eyes somewhere reading this) but thankfully my cranky temperament did not last...long ;)
Our road trip took us through Naples, Florence, Bologna, the Tuscan countryside through San Gimignano, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Siena and along the coast. We ate in disproportionate amounts: pizzas! pastas! pecorino cheese (with truffle!), gelato! and basically any form of anything that was offered to us that I will likely put an exclamation mark after in this description. This was also the trip that convinced me that learning Italian, retiring early, moving to the countryside and looking forward to being called 'nonna' was a completely reasonable future plan.
Because it is, right? ;) Some photos and little notes below if you'd like to see.
Getting around: Walking is always the loveliest route. Please note: cobbled streets. We rented through Maggiore car rentals for our countryside ventures which we had absolutely zero hassle with, we were advised that renting for the cities would not be worth the effort as a result of ZTLs (limited traffic zones) which only allow residents to pass through. Trains to Naples, Bologna, Florence, Milan and elsewhere were slightly more dear in price than anticipated but completely worth it and a lovely way to see the country (try Trenitalia and ItaliaRail). The bus is generally hassle-free if not busy at times, and tickets can be bought at tabaccaio or street kiosks. Each ticket is valid for about 90 minutes.
Food: Dining out is a real guilty pleasure here. We were surprised by how many places we just stopped in that knocked us off our feet. Some of our favourites: Il Santo Bevitore (the pasta pomodoro is out of this world) , Il Santino (literally right next door) that is a great stop for apertives, cheese and natural wines in a cosy little nook. The pizza in Gino Sorbillo Artista Pizza Napoletana is 100% worth the 1.5hours wait. In San Gimignano, Il Ceppo Toscano where the spaghetti in chianti wine with basil and tomato was the best meal I had during the trip. In Siena, the pecorino cheese with balsamic and honey- so, so good. ''A full Italian meal consists of an antipasto, a primo (usually pasta or risotto), secondo (main course, typically fish or meat), contorno (side dish), and dolce (dessert). '' Be forewarned of the gluttony that may ensue during your travels.
Views: Piazzale Michelangelo, stunning views day or night. San Niccolo Firenze where we grabbed cheese and wine, sat by the water and later happened upon a little garden party (complete with pop-up food and a DJ). Such a special night. The leaning tower of Pisa was incredible to see...but that was all there was to report on in Pisa. We took a little vintage Fiat 500 tour and were taken to this incredible farm with stunning views, if we had another opportunity to do a cooking class or have a meal like this again we would.
And I would definitely do everything that Emiko Davies recommends (a gorgeous site and being I wish I had known about sooner!)
Wishing you very sweet and happy travels if life finds you visiting friends xo