Our anniversary trip to Italy took us to three major cities. Based on the many blog posts I read about Italy trips, it seems this is a popular itinerary. We spent four nights in Rome, three in Florence, and three in Venice. After our time in Rome, we went by train to Florence. The train ride, although high speed, was beautiful. We saw expansive fields of sunflowers, countless wineries, and many old (OLD) farmhouses. Once in Florence we checked into our bed and breakfast. This place was so charming! The owner was meticulous too, so you can imagine our stay was flawless. We stayed in the top floor with the old rafters on the ceiling and these tiny fancy windows that opened to the courtyard. It was a beautiful place and the owner, although probably in his seventies, insisted he carry one of our heavy suitcases up the three flights of narrow stairs. He did not want me carrying the bags! I felt awful since we packed enough to last us the entire trip, so those bags were HEAVY! He insisted.
After settling in at the b&b, we enjoyed the Uffizi Gallery. It was evening time by then so we walked along the river, saw the famous bridge, and stopped at a cute place for a meat and cheese plate (and wine, of course). We googled the best rooftop place to eat in Florence and came across Hotel Lucchesi. It had mixed reviews, but we tried it anyway. It did have an amazing view(!), but the food and service were not great. This was the first time we ran into this in Italy.
The first full day in Florence we had breakfast in the courtyard of our b&b then wandered around Florence, touring the Academia and Duomo. I'm not sure I will ever forget seeing the David statue in person for the first time. This guide for this tour was our favorite. She was sweet and so engaging. Other than seeing amazing things like David, we also learned a lot about the Medici family and the history of Florence.
The second day in Florence was actually spent in Tuscany. We found our way to the bus station and joined a tour to San Giovanni and Siena. The city of Siena was preparing for their annual horse races, which take place in their city center and involve all the little neighborhoods of the town. The streets were packed with people chanting and singing with their neighborhood. They were drawing for their horses that day and the races would be the following day. Our tour met in a square away from the festivities and we noticed a guy wearing a St. Ambrose hat. That's a university in our hometown, so we asked him about it. The couple was originally from the Quad Cities! We started chatting and found out they went to school with my aunt. Of course I had to send my aunt a photo of us in Italy together! How funny is that?! Small world. They were great to spend the afternoon with and we saw them a couple more times while in Florence. Our day ended with a wine tasting (can't wait for our box of Chianti wine to arrive in the states!!) and then dinner in the Medici Square. A note about the food: I did eat Italian food every dinner. Why not, right? My most frequently ordered dish was probably gnocchi. Have no idea why, but I don't ever eat it at home so maybe that's why. I did try to look for fettuccine alfredo on the menu and never found it. Is that not true Italian food? lol
The last day in Florence started in a laundromat. We packed plenty of clothes to get us through each day, but we didn't anticipate sweating through our clothes multiple times a day. Laundry was a must! Somehow we decided my husband would stay and wash the clothes and I would go back to the b&b to pack. Of course he made friends with some ladies and their little son. They brought him cappuccinos and tried their best to communicate with him. Nobody's brought me cappuccinos while I did laundry. Damn.
After laundry, we boarded another train and headed to Venice. More on that in the next post!
More photos from Florence can be found HERE. All images were taken with fuji400h medium format film. <3