Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tuscany Trip

June is a month when like like to travel the most: fewer tourists, better prices in hotels, flight tickets etc... This year, I tried to steer my dear husband's plans for vacation towards south of Europe, like the lands of pasta. It turned to be little bit more than that, much more...

We decided to drive from Prague, through Germany and a bit of Austria, across Alp Mountains, to Italy and from there, to take a ferry to Corsica. Amazing, how the weather changed from heavy rains ( we feared we might encounter some snow in Alps) to beautiful sunshine as we descended the Alps. Our nearest destination: Florence.

I am not new to being around very old buildings but seeing the romanesque character of the city which didn't change much since the powerful family of Medici's ruled it...that's something else.
We covered the most of the best known places in Firenze:
Ponte Vecchio - a bridge originally occupied by butchers and tanners which were later evicted because of the smell and jewelers moved in instead;
well known, amazing Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo),  Basilica di Santa Croce, San Lorenzo (smaller "duomo"), Piazza dell Signoria - famous huge piazza with statues  , Piazzale Michelangiolo - from a hill across Arno river, etc ...

I didn't get to visit any museum, Uffizi, I ruled out as too big for DH and after an hour of waiting in the rain in front of smaller Galleria dell'Accademia ( which hosts the original David by Michellangelo) without moving, even I gave up.
Rain means no line for El Duomo so we were able to climb quickly to the very top of this church and be rewarded by breathtaking views of the city. I had to admire the beauty of detailed works on El Duomo, all green and white marble. Seems to me that in 15th-17th century,  there must  have lived only masters of stone sculpting in the city of Florence, to finish all the carvings in time!

After three days, it was time to leave and we had a whole rainy day to explore Tuscany before heading towards Livorno, where we had an early morning reservation for a ferry to Corsica. On the way, we stopped at one of the numerous wineries to taste their wonderful Sangiovese - of course, we couldn't leave without two bottles - and just as the rain ceased, we found ourselves at the gates of the small medieval town of San Gimignano. Narrow streets, lots of stores with local crafts and various edible goodies, this old place is an attraction frequented by tourists.
According to our plan, we made it to Castiglioncello, a nice coastal town about 20 mins from Livorno, which was still half-empty, with beautiful sleepy villas waiting for the main tourist season.
From Livorno, we would start another part of our journey but that's for the next time.
Details coming soon!

For more pictures from this trip, click here.
  1. Oooh, a terrific beginning write-up of your trip, Romy! Love the tidbits... =)

  2. sigh...... how wonderful!!! Thanks for sharing!