A week in the north; a week in Tuscany.... Woo Hoo!
So we have been quite busy the last 3 days and so have been unable to find the time to write about it all. But I will try to share a bit of those days here. Tuscany has been so wonderful. It is both beautiful and very interesting. Food and wine amazing. I wrote about Sunday but somehow the blog got deleted so I will try to start from there.
Sunday morning we woke to a lovely sunny day- all the days here in Tuscany have been sunny and warm so far- must be because we are "under the Tuscan Sun." Anyway we decided to stay close to home but to explore the area. Our host had left a list of local spots to explore. But first we went walking on the property- down into the olive groves and vineyards. The place here is old cottages that were renovated. They were home for the workers connected to the villa of the family way back. Now most work is done by machines so they are not needed. The owners renovated the cottages. Ours has a large window in the living room overlooking the hills, vineyards and such. Really beautiful.
After walking around we got in the car and explored the hills. We stayed off the highway until later on so that we would see more and also get more lost- but it was fine. We were finally able to find an Abby that was suggested. It is called Badia A Passignano- very beautiful.
After we continued on our drive and decided to go to San Gimignano. This was the highlight of our day. This is a walled city that had many towers built. It is lovely of course with many winding streets, piazzas, these big towers. So much history and also so much beauty. Heard some music, walked up and down many winding streets, all cobblestone. Had our first course of wine and antipasto at a charming place along the wall with a view of the mountains. Later on had dinner at another small place. This is a place not to be missed if you are ever in Tuscany. And I would love to come back to explore more.
On Monday, we again got a late start. It is still hard for us to get up in the morning if we have no where we have to go. We had decided we would go into Florence. I have been there before, 8 years ago with Lydia but David has not. I had really loved Florence when I was there before. There is a tram here that you can take- even David did not want to drive. When Lydia and I were here we stayed right in the city and only had to walk.
So we had directions to the tram stop in a suburb near here- Scandicci. We attempted to get to the one David had bookmarked but sometimes the phone GPS doesn't load. So we drove around- getting frustrated. Turns out the half the area we had to get to was blocked off due to a fair and we couldn't get to the station parking. We finally found a different station, figured out how to get a tram ticket- and wow, finally got on the tram to Florence. Somewhat amazing I sometimes think.
We spent the day walking around the different areas. Just as wonderful as I rememberer.d. We first went to the Duomo Piazza. When I was there last I did not walk up to the top of the dome of the Duomo- this is something I was determined to do this time. It took some time and it was hard- many steps inside the tower- if you are claustrophobic don't attempt. But the view from up top was more than worth the work and the pain to my knees going down. First you are inside the top of the dome and then you are outside. I know that David will post some pictures about what we saw. It was something. Afterwards- quickly we got gelato to relax.
Then we went and walked around more- over to the Piazza Della Signoria- where all the statues are. David took photos of a bridal couple there as well. We just wandered about, walked across the Arno on the Ponte Vecchio. I did not buy any jewelry- not my style and way too expensive. All along the bridge are jewelry shops. Had dinner along the square later on and got the tram back home- arrived later. Walked quite a bit but again worth it.
On Monday, I had made reservations for us to go to the Uffizi museum. This holds more Renaissance art than any other museum in the world. So we had to get up and out earlier. But we were pros now with the tram so that wasn't a problem. Some lines but the advance tickets do help. Don't try it without. I think we were there about 4 hours looking at all the art. The audio guide was a help- so much art work- a bit overwhelming but inspiring to learn. I have a desire to come back for an art history class. I never took one in college- it would be nice to do it now without worrying about a grade. We again after walked all over- shopping, touring- I think we walked a total of 8 hours yesterday- My feet really knew that. But again so worth the pain. I don't know if we will get back to Florence again this trip but I know I will be back here again so I am not worried that we did not see everything. This is an area to return again and again since there is so much to soak in.
So today is Wednesday and we are hoping to drive to Sienna and maybe some smaller areas. We were up during the night trying to kill a very intent mosquito that kept on biting us. So we are having a late start. But since no one eats dinner till 8pm late mornings are good. David is finally up and outside enjoying the view.
Till next time
Love to All, Ellen
NB..... I'll post more photos on here and on Flickr soon — David