Never stop exploring. Sometimes, you need to take a step back and do something new to realize what you’re missing. I was lucky enough to take a trip to Tuscany recently. With high temperatures reaching 35 degrees, I found myself in a picturesque country, surrounded by beautiful architecture, delicious food and wonderful people.
Temperatures in Tuscany start going up as of late May, with peak temperatures in July and August. Our trip extended just shy of two weeks and I felt like we could have been there longer. I am going to compile full posts on each location to be able to fully showcase each town or city – but with such amazing culture, food, and architecture… how can I not share at least a bit of a sneak peak with you all now?
We flew into Florence and were fortunate enough to find a VRBO that was managed by a property group. The large spacious first floor apartment had multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and was less than a 5 minute walk from Piazza del Duomo. We had time to do a full day walking tour and some exploring of our own – so hopefully I’m able to give you a few decent highlights – but I would still love to go back.
Highlights: Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Academia, Piazza del Duomo, Ponte Vecchio
While in Florence, we only managed to take a single day trip to Cinque Terre – where we visited 3 of the towns. Cinque Terre – which literally translates to Five Lands – is again picturesque. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I managed to stop in for the day at Siena – just before the horse races started. It is apparently one of the most visited places in Italy – and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We were greeted by horses, trumpets and flags in Piazza del Campo as they prepared for the day. A short visit to the Siena Cathedral and we were off. Siena is definitely on my list of places to re-visit as I would have loved to take in more of the gorgeous Romanesque-Gothic architecture.
Arezzo is a city – and the capital of Arezzo (the province). It is about 80km SE of Florence and was our mid-way point between Florence and Poppi. We were aiming to avoid the winding hills, so we took the scenic route. Arezzo is surrounded by what seemed like a city wall. With Arezzo, we were fortunate enough to sneak in some shopping, cheese tasting and time to just walk around. A beautiful city that is definitely less flashy that Florence but still beautiful.
Arezzo was featured in the film La vita è bella (1997) – Life is Beautiful – by Roberto Benigni. It is where the main characters live before they were shipped off to a Nazi concentration camp. I had a friend that I met in Italy take me to the bar / lounge (it is definitely classier than bars in North America – so let’s go with lounge) that was featured in the film.
While staying in Poppi, we took a day trip to the town of Cortona. Cortona is a small town in the province of Arezzo. It’s situated at the top of a large hill and provides picturesque views of the surrounding area. At the very top point of Cortona, there is Santa Margherita Sanctuary. The long climb up cobble stone pathways was worth the amazing view at the top.
I think we spent the most and least amount of time in Poppi. We were at a cooking school in the hills outside of Poppi (Casa Ombuto – more on the cooking school in it’s own post), but we physically went into the town very few times. I managed to see amazing things from afar – but plan on going back in the future (nearer rather than farther) to be able to see them up close and explore.
Hopefully this gives you a bit of a sneak peak before I collect all of my photos into one place for you.
Until next time,