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travel blog

Italy – Tuscany, San Gimingano and Siena

September 22, 2016

As I mentioned last time, we spent a day taking a guided tour through Tuscany, San Gimingano and Siena. While we were extremely worn out by the end of the day it was a really wonderful way to get to see all of these places with someone knowledgable to show us around and teach us about the difference cultures, wines, histories, architectures etc. For example, did you know that Siena was a gothic city? Now you know ;-).

San Gimingano was a small medieval village that is, unfortunately, completely taken over by tourism. That being said, I realize it’s hypocritical that we took a tour there, and we did get an immersive experience, visiting cafes where Andrew and Aileen got wine, and I got chocolate.

Note: unless you REALLY love pepper don’t opt for peperone rossa chocolate. Contrary to my assumption, this does not mean you are buying some exotic rose flavored Italian chocolate… I am not a picky person but didn’t feel right throwing away expensive chocolate but every time we opened our bags the [incredibly potent] smell would overcome us until we finally gave up and tossed it.

Tuscany we got to wine taste (well Aileen and Andrew did) real Chianti in the Chianti region and eat lunch overlooking the rolling hills.

Siena was an amazing little town with gothic architecture and a wonderful history. I love that there has become a mix of buildings that are so archaic and modern shops in so much of Europe. It is so much more immersive, like you really feel as if you get to be a part of history; unique from having to stand behind a bunch of ropes and just look.

 

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Italy – Florence

September 21, 2016

I received insight from so many people that despite Florence being walkable, it was worth staying there longer than we did Rome. We were trying to decide where we wanted to spend three nights and I am really glad with our decision to stay here for the time we did. This allowed us to take a day trip to see the Tuscan countryside, Siena and San Gimignano, which I will post about in a separate update. Between the friendly pigeons, historic sights and architecture, delicious food and amazing street music we had an amazing time. The only thing I missed out on was being able to consume wine on the streets, a good trade for the opportunity to go with our little babe. – Already so well traveled!

I think one of the most magical moments in Florence was when we were walking through the streets and stumbled upon three string instruments being played in the courtyard of the Ufizzi Gallery. We had a chance to just sit and enjoy the beauty and really absorb the culture.

Aside from finding hole in the wall restaurants the one big name meal we would recommend getting is La Giostra, order the pear ravioli and you won’t be disappointed! Yum!! Ironically, we also had really good ramen in Florence, right by our AirBnB. It was what changed Andrew’s mind, he wasn’t a big fan prior.

Again we were able to walk all of Florence, and did so numerous times, twice (again) with our suitcases, those poor suckers really held up well!

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