This week I am in one of my favorite places: Florence. I studied art history here in 2004, and I fell in love with this city. For the past year, I have been having reoccurring dreams about the city, and I took that as a sign that I needed to come back.
My friend Carla was just in Florence and she stayed at a beautiful farm/villa about 40 minutes outside Florence, and when I saw that they offer cooking classes there, I signed up.
There was a group of 10 people and we got a tour the vineyard, olive orchard, and vegetable farm. In addition to growing their own vegetables, the owners of the farm make their own wine and olive oil.
Together we made a massive lunch, everyone was assigned their own tasks. We had an olive oil and wine tasting with lunch, and after we were full we all headed to the pool. The group got along so well that most of us met up again later that night back in Florence. We had beers at JJ Cathedral, a super narrow Irish pub around the corner from my old apartment.
The next day I took on a more challenging day trip and biking in the Chiati region, which is very hilly but stunning.
We biked about 12 miles along the road and through woods and then had a wine tasting. I booked both the cooking class and the biking tour through airbnb experiences (they don’t sponsor me but it would be super convenient if they wanted to).
I have spent my time in Florence seeing my favorite sites and discovering some new things to do. I went to Bardini Gardens for the first time and it has a remarkable view of the city. My ticket to Bardini Gardens included entry to Boboli Gardens so I went there next. These were ideal things to do on a Monday when museums are closed.
Another day was spent at the Accademia and the Duomo. I signed up for a tour so that way I could skip the super long lines, the line to get into the museum and the cathedral can take 90 minutes this time of year. By paying a little more, I didn’t have to stand in line outside in the hot sun, and I got to save lots of time!
If you are heading to Florence in the summer, know that it’s cooler in the mornings and hot in the afternoons. I made a point to go to the Duomo and climb my way to the top of the dome before it got hot. Once on top of the Duomo I got to take in 360 degree views of the city, and of course, I met two Mainers, we are everywhere.
Of course I am eating well. I had the ribollita that I love at Za-Za’s and a panini at the famed All’Antico Vinaio and plenty of pizza and pasta.
Today I am visiting the Uffizi and Pitti Palace. It is supposed to be 100 degrees here today! When I saw the weather forecast I planned today around being in air conditioning.
Tomorrow I am going to Firenze Rocks, a music festival where Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard, and The Struts are performing. I will be sure to share updates from the fest on instagram stories. Next week I will be in Salarno (on the Amalfi Coast) and then Chieti which is where my great-grandmother was from!