Tuscany has been pulling at my heart strings ever since the day I left. I think it’s because it reminds me of home being in the countryside but with warmer air and beautifully raw Italian ingredients. I long for the day I can return, I really can see Joe and myself living here in the future. I sometimes find myself looking at properties to buy in the Tuscan region, dreaming of a renovation on an old property with plenty of land to grow olive trees and to keep chickens.
Whilst we were in Tuscany we stayed several nights in Florence, we done two tours with a local company named Walkabout Florence which meant we didn’t spend a great amount of time in Florence itself. But with that said, what I did see of the city I fell in love with. I seem to have a great passion for cities with water, I was drawn to Porto in a similar way. The two tours we did; one day we went on a coach looking at ‘the best of Tuscany’. Whilst on this trip we visited; Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa. Included in the day was a lunch in a local vineyard where we got to ‘sample’ the wines (definitely got out moneys worth). The second tour we travelled through the Tuscan countryside in a vintage Fiat 500, as anyone who knows Joe, he was in his element!
The one night we went out in Florence we wondered around the streets when we came across All’Antico Vinaio. The sandwich shop seemed to have a large queue so like any British person we stood in line before being presented with the best sandwich I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. It was so good I had to go back the next day to try it again to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Meanwhile in the morning someone tried to break into Trudie unsuccessfully (admittedly all our belongings were on display). Throughout the entire rest of the trip and for several months later Joe and I had to climb through the boot to unlock the doors through all of the stuff we acquired.
We visited Angie’s Bar where we met a lovely couple on their honeymoon, the bar was small but had a great atmosphere. I would go back to Florence in a heartbeat! If you get the chance please have one more of those sandwiches for me.
Cinque Terre, what a beautiful gem of Italy. Cinque Terre is a protected area, made up of five towns filled with pure natural and man made beauty. We stayed in the next town from the famous five called Levanto. Levanto is only a short train ride to the next town but it much quieter with fewer tourists visiting which was nice to come back to after the days filled with hustle and bustle. Also driving around the five towns is banned, not that I would of wanted to try and get Trudie through the crowds and hills!
I remember arriving in our Airbnb apartment, after getting lost down many narrow dead ends whilst Joe accidentally put his hand on the horn while locals were walking on a zebra crossing. Levanto reminded me of seaside towns back in England. People with their items heading to the beach, locals sat outside cafes watching the world go by.
Now I guess like most places, it was packed full of tourists (me included in that). Although have to counter in we went just at the end of peak season. I really wouldn’t let that put you off. We still managed to find corners of the coast that were tranquil.
On our first night we decided to stay in Levanto and cook some food at the apartment. Joe and I got some local pesto from the supermarket (pesto originated in Genoa, north of Cinque Terre, made using a pestle and mortar suppose to a blender). After this we spent time walking by the waves of the sea, we even came across some cactus fruit. Something that Joe and I first tried in Morocco. Managed to get one down, SO juicy. Although had thorns in our hands for days to come.
We visited four out of the five towns, mainly down to our time restraints. Little gutted we didn’t see Monterosso as many people say it’s their favourite due to the beach. Although they all have their similarities with the houses and narrow street they all have their unique beauty.
Corniglia stood out for me, I remember stating we will get a drink at the end stop which so happened to be at the top of a large hill with what felt like hundreds of steps. The views from the top of the coastline are spectacular, the town seemed a little more slow paced than the other three visited but think that’s what makes it so special.
Again the powers of social media, I came across this beautiful restaurant named Nessun Dorma in Manarola, many of you would of seen photos/videos of it like I had. I feel sometimes it’s a real risk getting caught in a tourist trap going to places with a view and that have been shared on social media thousands of times but this restaurant is perfect. I have read that it can take a long time to get seated, we came just before they opened after people finished their pesto workshop. One of the experiences the restaurant has to offer. We got seated, where we enjoyed a Aperol spritz and a mezze of meats, breads and olives looking over at the pastel coloured houses on the cliff. Honestly what I’d do to be back there right now. If you ever get the chance to visit these incredible towns be sure to visit Nessun Dorma.