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Tuscany: Italian Dream Part Two
July 17, 2009 at 9:15 am 2
The Tuscan Countryside After two exhausting days in Florence it was so nice to escape to the countryside. By chance we made a hotel reservation to a modest looking hotel, the Borgo di Fontebussi, which turned out to be a luxury retreat. The pictures on Expedia do not do justice, and the price was amazing for what you got. As we drove up to the gated retreat I just wanted to sit inside and take a nap…until I saw the place we were staying….and then I felt like a princess who just landed in heaven. There were many different buildings, a lovely pool, two restaurants and many seating/park areas. The views from the hotel were outstanding and it was filled entirely with Europeans that wanted a little getaway. Everyone was just relaxing and having lovely slow meals, drinking wine together, sitting on the grass and enjoying life. It was bliss! After spending our first day in the retreat it was time to check out and go to Cinque Terre, but I just couldn’t leave. My very accommodating boyfriend had no problem with losing money on our other hotel reservation and staying on one more night….he’s so lovely about these things. Since we had an extra day we decided to peel ourselves away from the heaven retreat and visit the Chianti route. We drove around all day and visited many different towns, cafes, restaurants and vineyards. It was nice to just chit chat away driving down the country roads, getting lost and seeing amazing views at every turn. Throughout the entire day I was concocting plans in my head figuring out how I would take a six month sabbatical in Tuscany, living in a farm house, eating glorious food at every meal, and drinking the best wines I could imagine. Tuscany is a place to lose yourself in fantasy….and indeed I did. I felt so relaxed, blissful and in love with everything, and I’d go back tomorrow if I could. Stay Tuned: The crazy city of Rome is next! For more Italian travel journals see posts on Florence and Rome
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Travel
Florence: Italian Dream Part One
July 16, 2009 at 9:15 am 5
Recently I went on an eleven day whirlwind trip through central Italy with my boyfriend. We had tossed the idea of going to Italy around, but like so many things you chat about them, and then you get lost in daily life….until I found an amazing seat sale. I was able to book the flights from Toronto to Florence return for $577 per person ($500 US)….amazing! So with tickets in hand we constructed a brief travel plan and then adapted it as we went along. To make my trip diary a bit more digestible I'm going to post from each city for the next few days. First, let's start with... Florence We landed in Florence in the morning, and spent the entire first day walking around the inner city. I was jet lagged and running on fumes so I kept on drinking double espressos thinking it would perk me up….it didn’t work that well, but luckily I didn’t get too jittery. Florence as a city didn’t wow me, it was totally over-run with tourists (7 tourists for ever resident!!) and I didn’t really feel like I was in Italy since I couldn’t find any Italians outside of people that worked the tourist industry. We spent two days in the city, and I felt exhausted from walking all day and dodging the throbs of people. The best place to visit was the Uffizi museum. It is a very cool building and the art is outstanding. It’s a place that you could go into every day for a week straight and still be wowed. We were able to reserve our tickets through the receptionist at the hotel, so we avoided the mile long line-up outside. Thank heavens! There’s nothing like going on vacation only to wait outside in the burning sun to see fun stuff – no thanks! The most memorable thing about Florence was the restaurant we went to on the last night, Castello di Sabbia(they don't have a website, but here's a map with reviews ) . The restaurant specializes in fish and truffles and you won’t be disappointed. It’s owned by two guys, one of them a former police officer who speaks English and is very friendly. To get to the restaurant you need to take a taxi, which the owner will reimburse you for – a very nice perk indeed! The drive up is great, because you get to see where the actual Italians are, and it really sets the tone for the evening. After you’ve traveled for twenty minutes via taxi you find yourself in this beautiful cabana style building perched atop a hill with a view of the nearby area, and once you eat the food you will FALL IN LOVE. We had an antipasto appetizer, a pasta course and then a steak with truffles that was absolutely perfect. I still dream about it. We actually went back on the final night of our trip, and the host greeted us like we were returning friends. It was the perfect send off. Stay tuned: I'll blog about Tuscany next...and that truly was a dream... For more Italian travel journals read posts on Tuscany and Rome
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