May 26, 2012


After EuroBlooper #1, we hopped a train at Termini in Rome and headed north to Florence. It was a short train ride (90 minutes-ish) and was made even more pleasant as we sat with a nice couple from St. Louis (who was on their first trip without kids in 12 years, dear God I'm glad we did this before having kids).

Gelato eating view
In Florence we checked into the Rosary Garden Hotel which was on the outskirts of towns and in some ways, wildly different from our last, very modern and sleek hotel. This was quaint, smelled of warm spices and old fashioned. We had a lovely large room with a view of the tiny square in front of the hotel.

After getting settled we headed into town for lunch, gelato (chocolate, best I had the whole trip) and our end destination of a Chianti wine tour in the Tuscan countryside.

Along with 50 or 60 other travelers, we took a bus about 45 minutes outside of Florence, during which we passed an American veteran's cemetery (mostly WWII). Ross was very impressed by it and commented a few times on the trip how pleased he was to see it well kept and in such a pretty location.

First tasting
At the vineyard, we learned about Italy's standards for wine, how to make it, how to store it, and lots about olive oil. We saw barrels for both wine and olive oil and toured the cellar (which used to be a dungeon interestingly enough).

And then we got down to the fun stuff: tasting.

On the way back we stopped in a little Tuscan village for an hour to explore.

Ross and I plopped ourselves at a local pub (after all I was enjoying the heck out of my wine while he was longingly searching for beer). He ordered a Peroni, which he'd had here in the States, and the bartender told him "I have that but no. Have Moretti. Better beer." So Moretti it was.

Day two in Florence we woke up and realized it was already 11a which meant for "breakfast" we cut to the chase with pizza (omigod good pizza; pepperoni and artichoke), wine and beer.

Then it was off for the sightseeing extravaganza. We started with Santa Croce, which we had every intention of going into but were not dressed up to code (no legs showing and we were in shorts and a dress respectively).

View from Duomo
We went to the Duomo where we climbed the stairs inside the dome to the observation deck for the beautiful views of Florence and the Tuscan countryside. It was gorgeous! After that, it was through the related museum where again, you could just reach out and touch the art. My favorite there was the choir loft by Donatello.

At that point we were all ready to go see Michelangelo's David so queued up at the Academia (its gallery). We quickly learned that the wait was an hour and decided in five years, we wouldn't really care if we saw the David so it wasn't worth an hour wait. At Ross' suggestion, we went shopping instead; I traded the David for an Italian leather handbag.

Boboli Gardens amphitheater
Then crossed through the jewelry shopping district ("do not pass Go" style), and on to Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens. We explored the Gardens and they were beautiful. Pristine upkeep, views of the Duomo, an amphitheater lined with marble statues. It was one of the most stunning gardens I've ever seen.

After a little rest and relaxation back at the hotel, we headed back toward the Boboli Gardens for dinner where I had the BEST wine of the whole trip, maybe of ever. It was a delicious sauvignon blanc and after taking a small sip of mine, Ross even declared he liked it and poured himself a glass. It was the most wine I think I've seen him drink since our third date. My pasta was really tasty too, farfalle with ricotta cheese and mushrooms.

At the suggestion of my very romantic hubby, after dinner we climbed the steps of the Michelangelo Piazza to watch the sunset over Florence. It was quite the romantic, lovey-dovey way to end our time in Florence.


No comments: