Italy. What a country.
We were lucky enough to spend almost two full weeks in the land of pizza and pasta, so I’ve had to break this down into two parts otherwise I’ll be writing a novel.
I do just want to throw in that my grandparents on mums side were both born in Italy – so it felt pretty cool to visit the country. It didn’t feel so cool to not be able to speak any of the Italian my Nonna has tried and failed to teach me 🙂
Our first official stop of Italy was Cinque Terre – the unofficial stop being Pisa where we stayed for the night and didn’t see the Leaning Tower but had some great pizza – and it was just unreal.
Cinque Terre is made up of five tiny little beach side towns, all connected by train and walking trails. We stayed in Vernazza, one of the smallest towns, but in my opinion, one of the best thanks to the little beach! Apparently there were jellyfish in the water but when you’re from Australia a small jellyfish doesn’t scare you. That’s a joke lol I was shitting myself the whole time as I’m terrified of all ocean creatures, but fortunately no stings were given. Actually, a little kid got stung one of the days we were there, and Nick saw an octopus which is gross… so there’s that.
Anyway, pretty much all there is to do in Cinque Terre is relax by the water, explore the other towns, go for a hike, watch beautiful sunsets, and eat and drink. It’s basically heaven.
We spent three nights there and for us that was a really nice amount, any longer and we might have been getting too ready to move on, and any shorter and we would have missed seeing the towns, which are all worth a visit. Oh wait, I can’t comment on the middle town, Corniglia, because we were told it was a couple of hundred stairs up from the train station and that’s a great way to make two semi-lazy people who were already doing a LOT of walking lose interest, and not visit it.
A highlight was a sunset cruise which took us along the coast of all five towns, and brought us back to Vernazza with a bottle of wine and sandwiches as the sun went to bed. If Europe doesn’t make you the ultimate sunset lover, I really don’t know what will.
From Cinque Terre it was on to Florence, where it was a cool 38 degrees and what felt like 200% humidity. Our Airbnb was beautiful but also not air conditioned, so that was hell, but luckily Florence was not.
Another city I had no expectations of and loved to bits.
It’s a city where there is a lot to see but you really only need 2-3 days to see it, but I genuinely could have stayed longer just to wander around a little more. And eat a little more pasta.
A few standouts of Florence were the Duomo – the massive cathedral right in the middle of Florence which is impossible to miss, the central market where we had one of the best pizzas of our trip at ‘La Pizzeria Sud’, the river and a handful of bars- particularly the infamous ‘Red Garter’, which had litre cocktails for reasonable prices and also really delicious chicken wings which was unexpected.
Also, if you’re into art and history and love to spend time in museums (unlike us), there’s the Statue of David and a whole bunch of Michaelangelo’s work inside the museum ‘Galleria dell’Accademia.’ There is also a David replica statue just outside the museum where the original used to be displayed, so that was sufficient for us not-so-interested folk.
We spent one afternoon doing a Chianti Wine Tour, because that’s what you do in Florence, but sadly this was not a chance to get day drunk like most expect when doing a winery, but more of a boring history and wine making lesson where a few sips of wine were consumed. Boo. Next.
We did meet a couple of fellow Aussies and some girls from Ireland on the tour, so we took some travellers on the bus home and did some bar hopping of our own back in Florence which took us well into the night, so our winery day turned out just fine!
Big fan of you Italy. Big fan.
Love Kelly x