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During May in 2016 we cruised Tuscany for almost 3 weeks indulging in the green rolling hills & their vineyards & olive groves, in the cities from the 1400s & 1500s – and of course in Florence! (…not to mention lots of Italian food & wine…)
For many years I wanted to visit Tuscany, but it never happened – always another destination seemed more important or the season seemed wrong. To be honest: except for visiting Rome & Venice & Milan – as well as a short crossing of Northern Italy from Southern France to Southern Austria in 2 days – there wasn’t much of Italy so far. As a lifelong fan of Italian cuisine – what a shame!
So expectation ran high when we planned our trip … then (by help of our usual travel guide editions).
When looking back now …
Of course there’s my very special highlight: our visit to Michelangelo’s David in Florence (about 500 years old, more than 5 m high, still in Florence & still unbroken).
(Well… when we were in Malta the year before I was somewhat besotted with the Maltese Falcon – then (& now!) it was Florence & David!)
However, let’s start with the green rolling hills … filled with vineyards & olive groves… (I never imagined that this picture of Tuscany I had in mind was reality!). We made a lot of trips into the rolling hills – ending up at narrow, winding, steep roads to be awarded with an overwhelming panorama.
Even today I remember our trips into the green hills – sometimes getting lost on narrow rural roads. However, always ending up none of these charming old cities.
I vividly remember places like San Gimignano, Siena, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza, Volterra … all these Renaissance cities having survived the centuries w/o major decay & damages. You can imagine how people lived here centuries ago fighting with the Medici or against the Medici (it doesn’t really matter: the Medici won it all at the end!), producing wine & olive oil, trading & praying … Praying: be sure that each of these old cities has its cathedral – I mean “a real big cathedral!”
… & then there was Florence w/ its centerpiece – Il Duomo:
We had an apartment on a vineyard rather near to Florence – so we just took the bus delivering us to Florence’s centre within about 45-60 min. (There was always a lot of traffic jam!)
More than once we made this trip, because we loved walking through the narrow streets of the historic centre, gazing at little shops (& shopping!) as well as strolling the big boulevards (also in the historic centre!) with their enormous share of high end fashion shops: it’s the Florence mix of the historic city, the picturesque & the glamorous details!
This is the famous bridge near the Uffizi.
We made our tour of the Uffizi, but after about some hours we were exhausted: too many works of art, too much history, too much information – I think we managed to cover maybe half of the Uffizi: it’s amazing & overwhelming! (I’d like to visit the Uffizi once more …)
To be honest: it’s not only the Uffizi, but Florence itself …
… & it’s Italian style means of transport …
… once again: David!
(Don’t miss visiting the Galleria dell’Accademia even if you need to queue up for a ticket …)