ITALY: TUSCANY & CINQUE TERRE
Last May, me and Kevin flew to Italy for a roadtrip adventure. We started our journey in Tuscany and made our way to the Ligurian Coast.
This little town was the first leg of our long roadtrip in the Tuscan hills of Italy. Of course we went sightseeing the Tower of Pisa, the big squares around it and many little alleys and stores. We tasted the first taglieris (a wooden tray with cheeses, charcuterie, pestos, breads and jams), ravioli, gelato and enjoyed our first aperitivos. After these first few days we drove our little Fiat 500 to a wedding of our dear friends in beautiful Montespertoli.
After the romantic wedding bells we continued our journey to San Gmimignano. The medieval Manhattan of Tuscany. After that, we spent a few days in Siena and I have to say that this place was one of my favourites of this Tuscan trip. I tasted the incredible pici pesto (thick pasta with pesto genovese), ravioli ricotta, tortelli with potato and had my fair share of gelatos as well. We did all the sightseeing by foot here. The Duomo was my favourite! I love churches and wherever I go, I always take the chance I get to step inside. The Duomo di Siena was the most beautiful one I’ve seen during this trip. So many beautiful frescos, art, statues and stories. I think we might have spent over 90 minutes inside, listening and admiring the artwork with an audiotour. Next to sightseeing Siena, we also made a few day trips to surrounding towns like Volterra and Volpaia in the Chianti region.
Florence area and MotoGP
A big beautiful city full of culture. The Fiorentina food (Fiorentina steak and osso bucco), foccacias, carciofos (artichokes), porcini tagliatelle, the spritz and loads of italian espressos were just the tip of the iceberg of all the incredible food we tasted here! We did loads of sightseeing and the Ponte Vecchio bridge, Piazzale Michaelangelo (a large square on top of a hill, overlooking beautiful Florence; we visited this square during sunset and it was a spectacular view!), Mercato Centrale (large foodhall), and a visit to a local cinema were the sights amongst my favourite things to do in this town. I also enjoyed just walking around the city, enjoying it’s stores and beautiful architecture.
Next to sightseeing Firenze we did a daytrip to Mugello. Since it was MotoGP weekend in the exact same time we were there (lucky me!). Every year, me and my brothers head over to the Assen circuit for MotoGP so it was the perfect opportunity for me to visit one I’ve never been before. We visited Mugello and the little town next to it (Scarperia a san Piero) during trainingday. We sat at the 58 stage and could overlook a great deal of the racetrack, it was an amazing experience I’ll never forget.
After some time away in these Italian cities, it was time to move over more inward, countryside! We stayed at an agriturismo in the Chianti region where we enjoyed life at the pool, homemade dinners at the agriturismo, hikes and made quite the few daytrips to surrounding places like Gaville, Val D’orcia; which was a gorgeous roadtrip with the most beautiful sceneries, Pienza, Montalcino, Montepulciano and Montefioralle. We did two delicious wine-tastings and all I can say now (I’ve never been a fan before) is that I absolutely started to love wine more and more (with a soft red one as my go-to).
Cinque Terre; Ligurian Coast
We stayed at a beach town called La Spezia and explored these five little villages at the coast by train. Every village had it’s own charm and beauty. We hiked the 365 steps in Corniglia to have a pretty view over the ocean and the green winefields surrounding this little hike. In Vernazza we enjoyed the peaceful beach and the colorful architecture of the houses. Monterosso Al Mare was our perfect spot for a swim and a nice day at the beach (plus the beachsnacks were almost equally as perfect: fried fresh seafood with a slice of lemon in a cone bag, need I say more?). We wandered around this long boulevard as well and loved dinner in the romantic old town of Monterosso. We wandered around in the small alleys of Riomaggiore, exploring this little town and the seaside as well. And last but certainly not least; Manarola. My favourite of the five. To me, this little village was the most beautiful one, with the most wonderful scenery. We had cocktails and drinks overlooking this beautiful Manarola and that moment I can recall so vividly. A hot summerday with the best company and an amazing view.The iconic colourful houses on top the rock.. Cinque Terre was absolutely stunning.
Back to Tuscany, Lucca area
We ended our journey in Lucca. What a charming town! We explored the town by foot, hiked the walls of Lucca multiple times (we even had a little wine picknick there), had spritzes at the Piazza de Anfiteatro, explored the Church; Chiesa di Fernando, wandered around the Orto Botanico, climbed the Torre Guinigi for a view over the town, and had the another set of great culinary expierences. We also did a few roadtrips in the surrounding area like San Pellegrino in Alpe (a village at 1525m high in the mountains), Castelnuevo de Garfagna and did the amazing marble mountains route (definite favourite). We also had a little beach day at Forte Dei Marmi, a popular and very pretty beach town.
It was another adventure for the books. Even though it’s only a 2 hour flight close from home; it’s a whole different world and I loved exploring this part of Italy for little over three weeks!
Photo credits: by Audrey Victoria