Twenty of the past seventy two hours have been spent on trains between France and Italy, so it is quite fitting that this blog post comes to you, from my current second home, the train. Here I am sitting for 8 hours, on my journey back to beautiful Antibes, after spending an incredible weekend in the Tuscan region of Italy, with my beautiful boyfriend, who has temporarily relocated there.
I was extremely excited to be immersed into a weekend filled with Italian pizza, pasta, gelato and wine, and Italy did not disappoint.
We spent our first day exploring Viareggio, a hidden gem located just off the beaten path. Viareggio is the largest beach town in Tuscany, we spent our afternoon strolling the long promenade just off the beach front, this is filled with so many fascinating restaurants, markets, art galleries and beautiful clothing and shoe stores which continues for miles.
People were riding their bikes and skateboards in the sunshine, walking their incredibly beautiful dogs and making the most of this sunny Friday afternoon. The promenade leads you to a pier where fisherman sell fresh fish from their boats. There is a big embellished boat in the river next to the walking path, which operates as a fresh fish and chip store, the aroma of freshly cooked fish filled that whole pier, it smelt deliciously amazing.
We found ourselves at a little Italian restaurant located on the promenade and treated ourselves to our first taste of Italian pizza, fresh home made gnocchi and a bottle of Vino Rosso, our walk home resulted in a detour to an amazing little ice cream store where we filled our bellies with two scoops each of delicious gelato, something we have become quite accustomed to!
Day two was spent in the beautifully historical town of Florence, the capital of of Italy’s Tuscany region, and for all my gals who love reality TV as much as me (Patty, Britney, Keziah, Kate) – where Kim and Kanye were married.
The art and architecture in Florence is absolutely insane. Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance, which explains the magic of the architecture and the history that is sprinkled throughout this amazing city. The Florence Cathedral, with its terra-cotta tiled dome was built without scaffold and the detail in it is ridiculous. We were standing beneath this incredible cathedral admiring the build, the details, the colours and our beautiful surroundings. I said to Zac, ‘this is so amazing, I don’t understand how they built it’, and he turned to me and said ‘yeah I wonder how many people died building it’ -thoughts of a builder ha ha.
We lined up to enter the Cathedral, (the fourth largest in the world) which allows us to climb 463 stairs to the top of Brunelleschi’s Cupola, where we could admire Florence from one of the highest points in Tuscany. We walked past the Military who closely guard the Cathedral in their complete camouflage get up, completed with AK 47s strapped closely to their bodies. We almost get to the door when a Cathedral worker comes rushing over to us and tells us we can’t enter because my shoulders and legs are exposed, great. So we decide to go and find a cheap shop where I can buy something to wrap around my legs so that we are able to explore the Cathedral and climb the Cupola. We found a shop about five minutes away where I managed to find a scarf to wrap around my legs, it then occurred to us that Zac might have to cover his shoulders also, so he finds a long sleeve top. The shop worker puts the purchases through AND THEN decides to tell us that only the women need to be covered, great, a waste of €15. Oh well, back to the Cathedral we go to commence on our 463 stairs. We walk all the way back and can’t believe our luck, the doors are shut and we have missed the last entry by three minutes. We couldn’t believe it, so ultimately a waste of €23 ($40) on these ridiculously unnecessary items of clothing, that we couldn’t even use.
We continued exploring, admiring and eating our way through this beautifully ancient city, and found ourselves at Piazzale Michaelangelo, which has the most amazing panoramic views of Florence. It is located in a huge empty car park where beautiful art and jewellery stalls are set up, similar to what you find in Bali. There was a wonderful busker up there, who’s voice echoed through the entire car park.
By this stage it was edging on to 7PM, and our magnificent, adventure filled day was coming to an end. We sat at Play Bar, located at the top of Piazzale Michaelangelo and sipped away on cocktails, overlooking Florence as the day slowly came to an end. Truly a magical experience.
I had my doubts about Italy, especially coming from my current home, the French Riviera, where it doesn’t get much more beautiful. But Florence and Viareggio were amazing, and I can’t wait to get back to explore more of the beautiful Italian culture.
But for now, and until next time, a gluten detox.
C & Z❤️