Firenze – the gateway to Tuscany where we met up with Steve & Katie for a fantastic trip full of good food, great wine and even better company!
We spent time marveling at the great sights of Florence including the impressive Duomo and the super-human David. We were so ambitious we climbed the nearby Campanile bell tower AND the Duomo – a combined 900 or so steps straight up. Steve & Jon got some of the best shots of the trip overlooking the city.
Although the famous San Lorenzo leather market didn’t seem like the best place to pick up quality leather, our trip there was justified by the paninis we devoured at a fantastic little deli called SandwiCHIC. They even had a wine keg for 1 euro per glass on display – we helped ourselves!
We couldn’t miss Ponte Vecchio, the enclosed bridge that has boasted merchant style shops (nowadays – souvenirs) since Roman times. The bridge is always packed with tourists, so we enjoyed the view from a nearby wine bar with a nice glass of prosecco and air conditioning (our whole trip was 90+ degrees). We also stumbled upon a flea market in Palazzo Santo Spirito, a more local area of the city with an interesting mix of antique books, furniture, paintings and other knick knacks. Jon picked up an 1841 leather-bound copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy…and then proceeded to try and read it on the terrace of our hotel (unfortunately, it was printed in French!).
We enjoyed a romantic meal at La Giostra where we learned the owner boasts 12-15lbs of bangles per arm, all from African countries he’s visited. Jon also introduced us all to the Brunello wine he discovered while at Mont Blanc – sometimes pricey but always worth the splurge for a bottle or 2 with dinner, especially since we were celebrating Steve and Katie’s 1-year wedding anniversary. Authentic bruschetta, truffle carbonara, squash ravioli, tiramisu are just a taste of the mouthwatering dishes we got to savor while in Florence.
Easily our favorite part of Florence was the full-day wine tour in the Chianti region of Tuscany. Led by a talkative guide, we spent the day touring 3 different vineyards and tasting our way through different variations of Chianti. We got a rare glimpse of an olive press and learned how extra virgin olive oil is really made. Needless to say, we will be buying only EVOO from now on. We enjoyed the most delicious pecorino pasta overlooking the hills of Tuscany and snapped some perfect pictures of the countryside.