I am not exactly sure how and when it happened, but at some point the phrase ‘holidaying under the Tuscan sun’ became interchangeable with cool. And as my luck would have it I spent last week there enjoying the Renaissance cities of Florence and Pisa with some of my amazing friends, a rather big group of friends. Italy treated us so well. We stayed at a beautiful house in Vicchio a province in Florence, 30 to 45 minutes away from Florence city centre.
The streets are so charming, full of character and seemed so much was going on ‘when it wasn’t their siesta, yes that was a little surprising to me, I thought siesta was only a Spanish thing but I didn’t know Italians did the same. Around midday some shops close so that their proprietors can go home for a long lunch or a nap. Although I didn’t notice this in Florence, probably because it was very populated by tourist. Let’s face it, it would be a shame to travel miles to visit a museum or church to find out that it’s close for the afternoon. Some of the streets of old Florence were very small, you would struggle to drive a big car through. It was fitting to their architecture and probably practical too as most the locals were using mainly really small cars and vespa bikes.
I was reminded of old buildings in Ghana whilst wandering through the vibrantly coloured houses with decorated block coloured wooden louvered window.
Sat in front of the Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) Florence Cathedral – We couldn’t go in as we weren’t covered up enough.
The food in Florence is great, I know pizza is synonymous to Italy but I went crazy for seafood spaghetti, I only had spaghetti dishes each time we ate at a restaurants. Seafood caught by local fishermen is a real treat. The food wasn’t always a hit – firstly not being able to understand the italian menu made it all the more difficult to order good food. We had a hard time trying to find a trattoria (on a recommendation from an italian) that was open for service – a trattoria is an Italian-style eating establishment which is less formal than a restaurant, serving simple Italian dishes and also turns to be cheaper. When we did find one in Bologna they food didn’t live up to the expectation. Still we indulged in gelato and flat bread bread, prosciutto and mozzarella sandwiches.
Window shopping was fun, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of their wonderful window displays. It was a shame I did come across these shops when they were open.
How was your experience in Tuscany? Do you have favourite city in Italy?