Today I wanted to share with you more about our trip, and next up is Florence! We took a 2 hour train ride from the La Spezia train station near Cinque Terre to Florence. The day that we were leaving Cinque Terre, there was a train strike of course. This is really common in Italy, but they do give you a heads up (however if you aren't reading the Italian news you won't know about it). Luckily, the train strike that day only impacted some of the trains so we still made it to Florence! I think that Florence was my favorite place that we visited in Italy! Here's what we did and where we ate:
What to do:
Santa Croce and the Giotto Tower: You're able to access both the Santa Croce basilica and the Giotto Tower with one ticket. The basilica is absolutely gorgeous, and it's definitely a must see! Attached to Santa Croce is the Giotto Tower which you can climb to the top. Funny story is that once we bought our ticket we thought we were entering the basilica, but turns out we were climbing the tower! If you are claustrophobic at all, I definitely do not recommend climbing this tower. The staircase was extremely narrow, and when someone was coming down the stairs you both had to turn your bodies to let the other pass. It definitely was a rough 430+ steps to the top, but the views were oh so worth it!
Cooking class: We did a cooking class through Viator, and this was the only cooking class that I found that would accommodate vegetarians. It ended up just being Robert and I at the cooking class which I absolutely loved (especially because I'm not the best cook). We made oregano fettuccine with a sauce of tomatoes, carrots, onions, and peppers. We then made spinach ravioli with a lemon ricotta filling. Both were absolutely amazing, and I really want to try making them at home!
Montecchio winery tour: This was another tour through Viator where we were able to visit a winery in Tuscany! We did a tour of Montecchio winery, and learned a lot about how they make both wine and olive oil. We tasted 3 of their wines, and they also gave us bruschetta and cheeses which made for the perfect afternoon!
Pitti Palace: We decided at the last minute to go to Pitti Palace and it was so pretty! They had a Karl Lagerfeld exhibit which was really fun (and I have to say it was my favorite part). This was the point that I started getting a little tired of museums, so seeing all of the fashion images were much more interesting to me! The palace did remind me a lot of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.
Leather School: When in Italy, there are leather products everywhere! A lot of leather products on the street might not be authentic, so we decided to check out the Leather School. This is where people come to learn to make leather products, and then you can purchase them. They have really great prices, and I love knowing that my leather clutch that I bought is authentic! Just a note that they do embossing on the leather pieces for no extra charge, but they aren't able to do it on the weekends so you definitely want to plan accordingly. This picture was taken in the courtyard of the Leather School and I just couldn't get over how gorgeous it is! I mean, check out those amazing lemon trees.
Academia di Belle Arti di Firenze: This is the museum where the statue of David can be found, so visiting the Academia is a must! The statue is a lot bigger and more detailed than I thought it would be, and I was so glad we were able to see it. The rest of the museum is very small though, so we didn't spend a lot of time here.
Where to eat:
Trattoria da Imatti: This is the first place that we ate in Florence and it was really good! It was fun to sit outside and people watch. The gnocchi also didn't disappoint!
Trattoria Za Za: This restaurant was so good that we ate there twice! We liked it because they had a lot of dishes that weren't just your typical pasta and pizza. It was nice to have a break from all of the carbs and have something a little different. It's a really big restaurant, so a reservation isn't really necessary.
Vivanda: This restaurant has a lot of options for people who are vegetarians and who are gluten free which was perfect. They did have a couple meat dishes, but not many to choose from. I had risotto and it was so good! This restaurant was extremely small so I definitely suggest a reservation.
Gusta Pizza: Gusta Pizza was good for a quick lunch! We grabbed pizzas to go to eat outside before the winery tour. It was really inexpensive and made in a wood fire oven! It's a really popular place though, so expect to wait in a line for a little while.
Have you been to Florence?