I apologize for disappearing, unannounced, for the last several days. As much as I trust my readers, I am quite not comfortable announcing about my empty house on the web where I have no security control over who else may be lurking on the blog. I hope you understand my paranoia. We just got back from a two-week vacation.
We debated for months whether we really want to take a long flight crossing the pond with a one year old. After much thought and consulting with a trusted friend who backpacked Europe multiple times, we decided to be brave. I say brave because every other US couple we met with children under seven years old, had left behind their kids at home. Unlike the last few Euro trips, we knew we were not going to hop multiple countries either with a toddler and decided on Italy.
One of the reason we picked Italy was because of the diversity the country offers. You can be in the midst of Roman ruins in the morning and be on a beach in the Amalfi coast or Naples within hours. Admire beautiful Renaissance arts and architecture during breakfast and enjoy a mid-morning coffee in the middle of nowhere in the wine country or start hiking the villages of Cinque Terre enjoying breathtaking coastline by the afternoon. There is so much to see and explore in Italy that I don’t think even a month will be enough. We had two weeks.
After deciding upon the country, I knew which is the one region I couldn’t keep out of the itinerary. Yes, I was perfectly fine to leave out Venice(imagine being in Venice with a toddler, yeah, I know), but Tuscany had to be in. Even though we don’t drink, I have always been fascinated by the natural beauty of the wine country region of Italy. Tuscany turned out to be lovelier than I had imagined. I could spend weeks admiring the scenic beauty.
Our first stop in the region was at the birthplace of Renaissance, Florence, aka Firenze. Within the first two hours of walking the city, my husband and I looked at each other having the exact same thought. The picturesque city was climbing the chart above Paris. The arts, architecture, people, food, everything was simply amazing in Florence, and girls don’t forget David!
After walking and exploring Florence for two and half days, we rented a car for a day trip to the scenic Chianti region. Even though driving in the narrow Italian roads is not fun, we decided to rent a car so that we can explore the areas at our own pace and not get sucked into visiting wineries where we wouldn’t really taste the wine. We took the scenic route SR 222 just outside of Florence and explored beautiful wine country, towns, and medieval villages. Along the way, we stopped at Greve, verrazzano, Radda, Castellina and medieval town Monteriggioni. The breathtaking beauty left us speechless.
Is this picture perfect or what?
Tuscany is a region I wouldn’t mind going back and back again. Though we were very close to Sienna, we did not explore the city because we wanted to get back in Florence without damaging the daughter’s night sleeping schedule much. May be someday in the future. However, if you start the day before 10AM, I would say there will be enough time to include Siena and/or another beautiful medieval town San Gimignano to the day trip itinerary very easily.
Our last stop in the region was Pisa. We only kept few hours to explore the famous leaning tower of Pisa(to take the cheesy pictures which I am not sharing on the blog) but I wish we had kept a day aside to explore the city. The Pisa Piazza del Duomo exceeded my expectation. It is such a beautiful place where we could have easily spent several hours on the green grass admiring the intricate work of the monuments or taking a walk by the River Arno in the city. We stored our luggage at the train station and took a taxi to the Pisa’s Cathedral Square. If time permits, one can easily take a walk to the leaning tower in about 15-20 minutes.
As soon as I get through the other pictures of Italian coastline and historical places in Rome, Naples and Pompeii, I will surely share with you. Until next time, take care my friends.