I’m switching things up today. I don’t have a recipe to share with you, but lots of pictures from Italy instead! I will also be sharing the second half of my trip next week – so get ready for more pictures of gelato. #sorrynotsorry
Our first stop was Venice. Getting to our Airbnb was a little difficult with the language barrier and our unfamiliarity with the city, but we ultimately found it – right by the Rialto Bridge! With only one full day, we did all that we could to pack in all the sights – outdoor markets, Rialto Bridge, Saint Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Correr Museum, and of course a gondola ride. I also ate gelato two times on the day we arrived… and we arrived after lunch. Oops!
After Venice, we took 3 trains to ultimately end up in Levanto. Levanto is a small town just north of the Cinque Terre and it was great to be away from the craziness of the five towns. Because we were there in early October, we were technically there during peak season and it showed. I just cannot imagine what it would have been like in the summer! We stayed in a little bed and breakfast and were greeted each morning with croissants, espresso, and as much Nutella as I wanted. (Read: too much… I ate too much Nutella.)
On our first full day (also our wedding anniversary!) we hiked two legs of the trail – from Monterosso to Vernazza and then Vernazza to Corniglia – and were totally beat. I rarely have days where I feel like I need to eat otherwise I will pass out, but this was one of those days. We ate something in every single town – pizza in Vernazza (which essentially was foccacia with toppings), gelato in Corniglia (The BEST gelato of the entire trip! I had lime-basil and olive oil.), takeaway fried calamari in Manarola, and another piece of pizza in Riomaggiore. Pat woke up the next morning with heat stroke and a sore throat, so I took to exploring by myself. We ended up having a picnic on the beach and swimming in the Mediterranean. The Cinque Terre was absolutely breathtaking.
Our next stop was Florence and it only took us another three trains to get there! Only three trains… can you sense my sarcasm? At this point, I was really starting to dread lugging my luggage up and down those train station steps. We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb on the south side of the Arno River, which was the best decision – it was less touristy and had the restaurants “where the locals ate”.
Again, our days were jam packed and we did our best to fit everything in. We toured the Boboli Garden, hiked to the top of the Duomo, ate pizza, visited Santa Croce Basilica (where Galileo and Dante are buried!), ate gelato, did some shopping in the leather markets, ate more gelato, saw the David at the Accademia, and spent an entire day in Tuscany.
Our day trip to Tuscany was focused on Chianti Classico. We toured three wineries and sampled multiple Chiantis at each. And we had the most incredible lunch – five kinds of crostini, homemade pasta with a fresh tomato sauce, four kinds of meat with roasted potatoes, and a salad. Needless to say, we cancelled our dinner reservations that night!
Florence was my favorite city on our whole trip – it was small enough that you could walk almost anywhere in 25 minutes, had incredible food and shopping, and was rich with history.
Next week I’ll be sharing our other two stops in Italy – Rome and Positano! Ciao!