Monday, January 14, 2013

Italy Part 3: Tuscany + Florence

After our stay in Siena we left to explore some of other favorite places in Tuscany. We left Siena in the morning, made a stop in San Gimignano and then finished up the day in Florence. The weather was beautiful and the drive through Tuscany was absolutely amazing. Probably one of our favorite days of the trip (if it's even possible to pick favorites)!
We made a stop on one of my favorite back roads I used to jogging on right outside of the city. Awesome views of the countryside and vineyards with a little castello in the background.
San Gimignano is another iconic little Tuscan town--MUCH smaller than Siena but with over a dozen towers! From a distance, the skyline looks just like a big city.
We were traveling in the low season so luckily there weren't really crowds of people. We've read that during the high season in the summertime it's almost like Disneyland here!
 Nick got his first taste of real European hot chocolate--looks just like a chocolate bar melted in your cup! 
I bought a spoon rest for my kitchen at this little shop four years ago and was so excited to see that they were still carrying the same set! I bought a cute little salt and pepper shaker to match as my one souvenir from the trip.
We found the most stunning view on a little side street while we were walking through town. Again, pictures don't do it justice but we probably stood there for about 20 minutes just taking it all in.
San Gimignano skyline in the background
The olives look cool but they definitely don't taste good! Nick didn't take my word for it and tasted one-big mistake!
From San Gimgnano we took the back roads up toward Florence. It definitely took longer but the scenery was incredible.
 Had to take this for all of our friends who are Twilight fans ;)
I'm so glad Nick was the one driving on this trip because if it had been me behind the while, we probably would have gotten in at least a dozen fender benders. This pictures pretty much sums up Italian drivers - they do whatever and drive wherever they want (not quite sure which lane this guy wants to be in). Nick was a champ driving our little rental car all over Italy--including downtown Florence and Rome--and we returned it without a scratch.
I was lucky to travel to Florence several times while living in Siena (about an hour away from each other) but never really got to see it at night. We got to our hotel towards the late afternoon so we had a few hours to explore the city before it got too late.

Inside the duomo
The famous baptistry doors
 First panino of the trip
Ponte Vecchio at night
And we couldn't stop in Florence without visiting the official store of Nick's favorite watch brand. This is the original storefront from the 1920s--lots of history behind this watch brand! 
Because our trip was so condensed we didn't really have time to visit all of the famous artwork that Florence offers. I luckily got to see LOTS of that while living there, but I figured it will give us a reason to come back to Florence in the future.


Johanna said...

Nice pictures! I also bought a mug with the same design :)