Diary of a Traveling Friend: Tuscany

 

Amy in Siena Square

Welcome my friend Amy, who just returned from a well-deserved trip to Italy.

 

Thanks for the post, darling!

I just got back from a five-day trip to Florence, and one of my favorite parts was a day trip to Tuscany. I booked the trip (Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour) through Viator, and the tour guide, Becky, was awesome. We left Florence at about 8:30am and drove through the countryside.

Our first stop was in Siena, a beautiful medieval town. We walked through the town, first stopping to see the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the oldest surviving bank in the world. We also ventured through the Siena Duomo, where four statues are attributed to Michelangelo. We also saw the Piazza del Campo, which our tour guide told us is the third most beautiful square in the world. (Piazza San Marco in Venice is supposed to be the second most beautiful, and I can’t remember what No. 1 is!) We got a bit of free time to walk around the city, and I bought a beautiful cutting board made of olive wood and some homemade doughnuts. Yum!

We then drove to an organic farm and vineyard called Poggio Alloro, in San Gimignano, another small Tuscan town. We did a wine tasting of four wines and had an amazing lunch of homemade pasta, cheeses, and salads. The food was so fresh, and we had a typical Tuscan dessert (almond biscotti dipped in dessert wine). After lunch, we drove to the town of San Gimignano and had some free time to walk around and view the amazing scenery.

Our last stop was Pisa, which is much more touristy than the other towns—but it was so much fun to see the Leaning Tower. All in all, the day was filled with great scenery and great food. I definitely recommend taking this tour if you have an extra day in Florence!

 

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (the oldest surviving bank in the world)

 

a church

 

 

 

 

Nothing beats lunch in Italy

 

 

Michelangelo statue

 

 

San Gimignano

 

 

 

San Gimignano

 

 

It’s Almost Valentine’s Day—Are You Looking For Love?

Romantic Indian elephants.

If you are, these 10 cities are the World’s Most Romantic Cities, according to Frommer’s. There’s Paris, of course, and Florence, but a few of the others surprised me. Jaipur, India, and Bruges, Belgium? Really? Isn’t there a whole movie that basically centers around the idea that Bruges is boring?

Maybe not. If Frommer’s says it’s romantic, I’m sure there must be something romantic about it.

Also exciting? Sydney, Australia made the list. What didn’t make the list? Any city at all in the U.S. Ha.

As for my romantic Valentine’s day, I realized a few nights ago that this will be mine and Chris’s first Valentine’s day in four years in New York City.

For our first Valentine’s day, Chris was living here.

For our second Valentine’s day, we were here.

Last year, Chris was here.

So this will definitely be the first holiday in good ole’ NYC. Wonder where the night will find us.

Bis bald, friends! Where’s the most romantic city you’ve ever visited?

Photo via

Installment Five: A Fine Firenze

I’ve avoided writing this last post for longer than necessary, mostly because I was sad to have to truly bring the trip to an end, (and a little bit because I’ve been crazy busy.)

But if you can put up with me for one last Italian time and think back to two Sundays ago, Steph and I were about to spend our last full day in Italy before heading home…

On the train home from Florence to Rome Steph and I fought over who got to take pictures out of our tiny window

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