Tuscany: More Than Just Wine
I’ve fallen a bit behind on a few of my posts, so I’m taking some time to play catch up. I’ll keep this post short because the snow-capped peaks of Patagonia and the loud crashes of a cracking glacier are beaconing me to put my computer away and come outside (more to come on Patagonia in the next few weeks).
Given that my last post was on Mendoza, I figured now is a great time to tell you about another wine region we visited, Tuscany:
Tuscany was the perfect place to get sick.
Life Lessons From Rome
What can I tell you about Rome that you don’t already know? It is a well-toured destination with gobs of guides and information on the city. It is home to many top-toured sites including the Coliseum, the Forum, the Vatican, the Pantheon and so much more.
Tom and I spent five days in Rome and one blog post would not be enough to tell you about everything that we saw, did, ate and drank, so I decided to take a different approach to this post. I’m going to tell you what we learned from Rome.
We first heard about Cinque Terre in the Rick Steve’s “Europe Through The Backdoor” guidebook. He described it as the authentic, untouched, Italian Riviera. Of course, it's no longer untouched because Rick has quite the following. But the views were stunning nonetheless and the towns still possessed lots of charm.
We took the train from Florence to Monterosso (the first of the 5 towns that comprise Cinque Terre). As good ‘ole Rick described, we enjoyed flashes of the Ligurian Sea as the train whipped through the Mountain tunnels along the coast.
My heart raced a little as a true California girl that loves the coast and sights of the ocean. After weeks of staying in big cities, the sights were refreshing and lifted our moods.
Florence is known for their museums. Look up Florence Attractions on Trip Advisor and you’ll find a long list including the Uffizi, the Academia Gallery, and more. So if you love art, buy a pass and start working your way down the list.
But if you’re just a casual admirer of art, like Tom and I, try enjoying Florence a different way. Below are 6 ways to see Florence without ever paying an entrance fee or walking through a turnstyle in a museum.
And since we are self-proclaimed foodies, I’ll start with our gastronomical encounters:
When Tom and I first stepped out of the train station in Venice and began to make our way to the famous Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), we were overwhelmed by the dizzying array of fanny packs and running shoes. Like one large spineless blob, the monstrous crowd of tourists absorbed us into itself.
At times, I couldn’t tell if I was in Vegas or Italy. The only difference seemed to be that the street vendors in the real Venice peddled cheap toys and Prada knock offs, while those outside the look-alike Venetian in Vegas flick little cards adorned with naked women.
I thought to myself, so this is Venice. And although the town itself and its winding canals looked beyond charming, I was disappointed overall. This was our first stop in all of Italy and the authentic mamma mia experience I sought was nowhere to be found. In fact, there were more tourists than Italians in this little corner of their country.
But then something changed.
I'm Jaime. My husband is Tom. Suburbanites, backpackers, and expats...we've been them all!