After our stay in Rome, we were off to Florence. We took the train, which was about an hour long and really comfortable. I spent that hour answering emails and working. It was actually less stressful for me to work than not, so I’m glad that I used the travel time to check in and get updates on projects happening at home.
Oh Florence. I’m not sure how I feel about you. I think we came at the wrong time to enjoy it. It was just SO busy and SO touristy. I was literally running from those group leaders waving the flags with an army of 50 people only looking through their phone at everything around them. We did manage to find some good, quiet spots with beautiful views of the city at sunset, but it was hard to do! We ended up staying at our AirBNB during the peak hours of the day just to avoid the crowds.
I will say, we did have the best pizza of my LIFE! And that says a lot coming from Buffalo. This was a different category. It was piled with cheese, prosciutto, salami, fresh basil, tomatoes, oh lawd it was good! Other than that, we only had one sit down meal in Florence. It was a HUGE steak. Florence, as I've been told, is known for it’s steak and it didn’t disappoint. Jon and I never really eat red meat - maybe once every couple months - so this was a rare occasion. The steak was pretty much room temperature in the middle and seared on each side which is how we were told to order it. Crazy!
One thing that was disappointing in Florence is that a ton of the city was on holiday, meaning some of the places that we planned to go were shut down for the two weeks we were there. We were warned of this before we went, oh well! We went over the bridge to try and escape the crowds but it looked like a ghost town with all the holiday signs up!
We spent a few hours at the Uffizi during our stay. The forum was beautiful, where we spent the night sitting on the steps listening to a family of string instruments serenade the night crowds.
On the last day, we packed up our stuff and rented a scooter to ride to Tuscany!
TUSCANY / SAN GIMIGNANO
This was my favorite portion of the trip. I will admit, I was super nervous to rent a scooter and drive it all the way to our next airbnb location. It took some convincing from Jon and a small fight before I gave in. I’m so glad I did though - as this was my favorite part of the trip (just like Jon had promised me it would be. Funny how that works LOL)
We took off from Florence and headed south towards San Gimanano. We scooted through beautiful rolling hills, passed stately homes and miles of vineyards. We wound our way through small towns and cobblestone streets.
We stumbled upon and stopped for lunch at a castle. Yes, a castle. It was incredible. The landscape is unlike any I’ve seen before, just miles of rolling vineyards. We ate lunch here in the garden. It was one of my most memorable meals. The food was outstanding, as was the wine. There was one waitress that was running the show and she has about 12 tables to herself. It was a nice leisurely lunch and she was running around and working so hard, that once the tables cleared Jon and I gave her a round of applause.
Our AirBNB in San Gimignano was something I would recommend to everyone. I could not speak highly enough of this place. It was the most perfect location, a breath taking view, a fresh water pool, and a complimentary wine tasting with Jacob (resident Sommelier). Jacob’s hospitality was unmatched. I really can’t put this experience into words, so just look at the pictures below to get an idea.
San Gimangano was a cute town in itself. A town that is built inside walls with many shops and places to eat. There was a lot of people, but it didn’t feel as touristy as Florence.
We ate there one night for dinner and sat next to an architect from Toronto so there was good conversation until we closed the restaurant down.
We had a kitchen staying there, which was great! We actually do love to cook, and eating every meal out can be tiring and repetitive. Not to mention expensive. We bought some ingredients at the local market and Jon made an excellent pasta dish, that we ate at our private little table overlooking the town. This was also one of my most memorable meals. The wine from this vineyard was our favorite that we’ve ever had. We drank 4 bottles of the same wine during our stay - it was THAT good! We also took one with us on the road, and drank it our last night. We were going to bring it home, but lost self control.
The morning we left was bitter sweet. I wish we had one more day there! Next we were off to Cinque Terre.