I promise my next post will be for an update on how my challenge is going, but I wanted to switch gears to a past trip that I had last May (crazy to think it’s almost been a year), when I went on a weekend trip to Florence, Italy with my best friend Cara, and her boyfriend (now fiancee) Jordan.
Whenever I speak with people about Italy, they seem to always comment that Florence was their favourite place. And I can see why. I’ve now been to Pisa, Milan, Rome, and Florence within Italy, and Florence does have a different kind of magic than the rest of Italy.
I took the Friday off from work when I went to Florence and enjoyed a long weekend visit. However, since I arrived quite late on Thursday, and then left mid-afternoon on Sunday, I really only had 2 days to explore, so I took advantage.
Friday, Cara and I went into town and wandered about. Florence has an absolutely stunning cathedral right in the center of the city, so that was our first stop. I haven’t included any pictures of the inside, because although it’s pretty on the inside, the outside is the truly magnificent part of the cathedral.
One of my favourite things to do while in Italy, is to sit at a cafe somewhere and just enjoy a coffee. And after wandering about the cathedral (which, if you’re going make sure you have your shoulders and knees covered as the shorts I was wearing were not allowed in and I had to tie a scarf around my waist to be allowed in), Cara and I sat and just chatted for awhile.
And then we made our way to the shops. Florence has a great little shopping area, and if you can handle the crowds, then you’re likely to find some good finds.
After working up our appetite, we enjoyed some Italian pasta. We found a large patio, sat outside, drank some wine, and I enjoyed a very large plate of pasta.
What you don’t see is my practically licking my plate at the end. Pasta in Italy= most delicious thing in the world.
We spent a few more hours wandering around, enjoying the water and the bridges, before heading back to the hotel we were staying at to drink some wine and catch up with Jordan (who had left the two of us on our own for the day so we could catch up). We were in bed at a good time as we had specific plans the next day.
At 9 am on Saturday, we met for a wine tour through the Tuscan valley. Nothing like drinking wine at 9 am to remind you that your on holiday.
Now, my mom lives in the wine area of Canada (which a lot of people don’t realise exists- honestly, Canadian wine is delicious) so I’ve spent some time touring vineyards before. But there’s something additionally amazing to know that you’re going on a wine tour in Italy!
Our wine tour started out in the city, with some information about wine grown in the area, and a lesson on how to properly taste wine. Our wine tour also included a couple of bus stops for tours. This included stopping at Piazalle Michelangelo. Where you can both see a bronze statue of the statue of David
As well as a stunning panoramic view of Florence. (Cara and I had both bought our hats at the market the day before).
We then moved on to the vineyards, outside of Florence. Even though it was only mid-May, the area was so lush, and it felt like the middle of summer. We enjoyed the view for a while before wandering through the areas where the wine was being aged.
My favourite part of the tour was when we were led into a super old room, as per the picture below. There were bottles of wine that were hundreds of years old, covered in a thick layer of dust. It showed how long that particular vineyard had been there for.
By this point it was just about noon, and we were ready for some tasting! We had several different tastings at the first place we went to, then went back into the van and was brought to a second location, where a light lunch was provided and then more tastings.
It was an amazing day, filled with delicious food, great memories, and of course, fantastic wine.
The tour was over by mid-afternoon, and we were dropped off where we had originally started. I think all three of us had a pretty nice buzz happening from the wine. We decided it was a tad too early to just continue drinking, so instead we wandered around a few more shops.
There’s a bridge in Florence, Ponte Vecchio, which is an old medieval bridge. There are shops on the bridge, which apparently when the bridge was first built they were butchers, but now all tenants are jewelers. It’s a more expensive area for shopping, so the three of us just enjoyed wandering through the old streets, and looking at what was displayed in the windows.
We also, of course, stopped for some delicous, delicious gelato. I’m not sure if I’ve shared before, but I absolutely love gelato. Every time I am in Italy, I try and eat as much as I possibly can. One of my friends told me once how you can tell if it is genuine gelato. A lot of the tourist places have the gelato stacked in really high heaps- but they have had to add chemicals to it in order to make it not melt right away.
If the gelato is real, and therefore extra delicious, they will be in metal containers, with lids on them.
Jordan suffers from allergies, so after our gelato, he wanted to head back to the hotel as he wasn’t feeling well. So the three of us consulted a map, and set out on our way. 2 HOURS LATER, we had to take a taxi to where we wanted to go, as we had somehow gotten ourselves hopelessly lost and instead of walking towards the hotel, we had been walking in a 270 degree different direction. It’s one of those things that makes me laugh now, but I don’t think Jordan was very happy with either Cara or I at the time.
It was a short trip to Florence, but an absolutely amazing one! Has anyone else been? What was your experience like?