Our Week in Italy: Tuscany

On our last day in Florence, we joined a Best of Tuscany day tour… we couldn’t leave Florence without visiting Tuscany!

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First stop: Siena

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The Piazza del Campo where they have the Palio horse race… it sounds like quite a spectacle, I’d love to attend one day!

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Lunch at a vineyard

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House-made almond biscotti, nom nom nom!

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The picturesque town of San Gimignano

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A quick stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa at sunset!!

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Wow, these buildings were immense

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Our last dinner at Trattoria il Contadino… one of the tastiest and most INEXPENSIVE meals of the trip! Their gnocchi was out of this world…

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Tiramisu in Italy was consistently delicious everywhere we went… unlike here in the states, every restaurant makes their tiramisu differently, and is often disappointing. NOT the case in Italy!! I wanted to lick the bowl..

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And that was our trip to Italy in a nutshell!! I can’t wait to go back… Ciao!

Our Week in Italy: Florence

Rome, Part 1
Rome, Part 2

We certainly liked Rome, but we were absolutely enchanted by Florence! Everything about it was better… the feeling of the medieval town, the views, the food, the gelato, the shopping, our hotel… everything!

Our hotel, which we would highly recommend, was located right outside the sprawling San Lorenzo outdoor market. We spent a lot of time wandering around from stall to stall trying to find some leather bargains (purses, and gloves and scarves, oh my!).

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Inside the indoor food market, the Mercato Centrale.

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There was a little coffee stand inside the Mercato Centrale which served adorable cappuccino’s for 1 euro, so we went back more than once!

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The outside of the enormous Florence Cathedral. When you get up close, all you can notice is how busy and gaudy the design is!

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Gelato break! All of the gelaterias in Florence had gelato MOUNTAINS piled high!! We always got the hazelnut gelato… mmm! Sometimes mixed with coffee and/or pistachio flavors.

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On the famous Ponte Vecchio (bridge).

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The Ponte Vecchio is lined with old gold and silver jewelry shops.

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We took a looooong uphill walk to the Piazza Michelangelo, for the most amazing views of Florence.

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Breathtaking!

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We asked the front desk guy at our hotel where we could find “bistecca Fiorentina” (Florentine steak) and he pointed us to Ciro & Sons, where we had our BEST meal of the week. The steak was HUGE and amazing (and pricey, haha)…

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Along with a mushroom risotto… drool.

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Stopped into a yummy bakery on our way back to the hotel…

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My favorite photo from the entire trip… an evening view of the Ponte Vecchio!

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Our Week in Italy: Rome, Part 2

Buongiorno!

Truthfully, we were completely underwhelmed by the food in Rome. Restaurants and cafes were everywhere, and yet nearly every restaurant served the same thing. We definitely had a better dining experience in Florence! We were also amazed at how everyone still dines outside (with the help of lots of heat lamps!), despite the fact that it was mid- November and quite chilly!

Dining outside like the Romans.

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Lasagna and a white pizza (I like my pizza drenched in tomato sauce, so it was definitely lacking to me)

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A beautiful bridge connecting downtown Rome and Vatican City. One of my favorite pictures!

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Whenever I visit new cities, I love checking out the markets! Lovely fresh flowers…

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Hats galore! Too bad I can’t pull off hats at all, but that didn’t stop me from trying on a few!

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The stunning Piazza Navona!

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Oh how I desperately miss the amazing cappuccinos we had every, single day!! Starbucks does not do this drink any justice whatsoever. *sigh* I miss them more than our daily gelatos, haha.

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A sunny shot outside the Pantheon. There’s my husband looking rather GQ! ;)

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The famed Spanish Steps.

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A perfect perch for people watching…

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Climbed to the top of the Spanish Steps.

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A cool glass display inside the Gucci store (we couldn’t go to Italy and not check out Gucci!!)

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Next up: Florence!