Explore Tuscany and Cinque Terre in 6 days!
Our first time visit to Tuscany
(This is our 2nd post in a series of 3 about our time spent in Italy.)
What to do in Cortona
Day 1-We finally get to experience our first time visit to Tuscany! Our first European train ride from Rome to Cortona was underway. We were heading towards the setting of “Under the Tuscan Sun” and the home of Francis Mayes. Take a look at these accommodations as there are few in Cortona! When we arrived at the train station in Camucia we had just missed the hourly bus. A man in a convertible offered us a ride up the hill to Cortona. His name was Amos from Ireland, a transplant in the city. What a beautiful way to enter the hillside. I of course worried he could be an ax murderer but my husband was settled.
We lounged in Piazza Signorelli with the locals and enjoyed the weekend market. Michael and I finished a late dinner and were strolling along the cobblestone streets when we heard boisterous music and laughter. We peeked through a doorway and saw a party taking place in an open-air courtyard. It turns out it was a 25th wedding anniversary and the guests were in full Medieval garb! We were pulled into the dancing and celebrated until the wee morning hours!
Day 2-Early morning we walked in search of Bramasole, Francis Mayes’ home in “Under the Tuscan sun” and found it! Cortona was a great wind down from Rome before heading to Florence by train.
What to do in Florence
Day 2-continued: Oh Florence you are my city! Upon arrival we had a difficult time finding our host and apartment. I’m not a fan of large cities nor of confused tourists! (Read a map and get out of my way!) After an hour of hassle we moved in and began exploring.
Everything is within walking distance from our apartment! YAY no public transportation needed! We saw the Pitti Palace, home of the Medici family and filled with art and decorative rooms. We learned that we are landscape, culture, and food people rather than church or museum goers.
Our favorite restaurant was La Grotta Guelfa! We hit it off instantly with Antoinette, who was making pizzas and delicious appetizers. Her son and future daughter-in-law also work there. After dinner we crossed over the Ponte Vecchio bridge in search of a local gelato shop named La Caccaia. On the walk home we heard a flutist playing “Beauty and the Beast”. I happily tipped him because that is my favorite Disney movie. It added to ambiance of this beautiful city!
Day 3- Our 2 year anniversary! Off to Santa Maria Novella church and a hike to the Accademia. Being Monday, the Accademia was closed. We had a change of plans to the Duomo instead. We saw the crypts and cathedral before trekking up the bell tower! We climbed about 5 floors which included 3 flights of stairs in each one. WHEW!
Lunchtime brought us back to La Grotta Guelfa and Antoinette treated us with a free anniversary appetizer, like the one we loved the night before! We spent the early evening at the Boboli Gardens which was surprisingly very hilly, hit some shaded trails, kissed behind hedged walls and posed with sculptures. We had the pleasure in teaching an elderly couple from New Zealand how to eat honey suckle. What a sweet aroma! Our anniversary dinner was at “Ostera Delle Belle Donne”– a quaint restaurant full of locals having dinner with family.
Day trip to during our first time visit to Tuscany
Day 5- We were rudely awoken by banging on our walls during our last day in Florence. We were up to explore Tuscany and Cinque Terre in 6 days but we needed the sleep! I swear someone was building the next David over there! No worries because we bid ado to Firenze and welcome La Spezia for the night. La Spezia is the Italian version of Pensacola, FL. It has a hometown energy. Our host was so accommodating and advised us on where to rent vespas! You should book your hotel early if you are visiting during the summer. Another bucket list check! We rode our Vespa up the coast to Portovenere for a sunset dinner near a marina.
Be well and Travel often!
Try our favorite coffee we get Lavazza, from Amazon. It is an Italian brand called Lavazza creme e gusto. This is a velvety goodness for your soul. We get the 4 pack because we love our espresso! It comes in ground or whole bean. This is the best coffee ever to pass my lips and that is saying something!
*This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are my own**