Tuscany and Florence, Italy

Happy December! Let’s see if I can crank out my backlog of posts before the end of the year / before our next trip. We’ve (mostly) decided on Argentina over winter break. I have two full weeks off so we wanted to go somewhere warmer and take full advantage of the time, but I’m still a little tired these days and two full weeks traveling with a toddler without daycare feels like a lot – so we’ll probably end up shortening the trip. Plus, I need to start packing up my apartment because supposedly we are closing on our house next month, so I’ll probably need to end up using some days to do that in peace!

Bologna

This is a continuation of our trip to Italy in late August / early September. Once we wrapped up our initial 5 days in Lake Como, we took our rental car and drove down to the Florence area. The drive was around 5 hours, although it ended up taking the majority of the day since we stopped at Bologna and a few other local towns along the way. School was not yet in session when we passed through Bologna, so we enjoyed a few hours of tranquility and some delicious bolognese (of course), and walked around the city.

Our little olive farm

We stayed at a local agriturisimo (farm) outside of Florence. It was only a 20 minute drive into Florence or a 15 minute train ride, but because of COVID / the summer the trains were only running a few times a day so it was a little inconvenient to pop into the city. But, when the trains were running, it was great! We enjoyed climbing up the Duomo (well, really we climbed up the Bell Tower so that we can still get a view of the Duomo) and walking around and looking at all the cool art. On our last night we went to Piazzale Michelango which gives a beautiful view of the city during sunset. M and his mom went to the Uffizi while I stayed back and hung out with S, since it’s a little difficult to go to crowded museums with a toddler. But we all did go to the Galileo Museum, as requested by my nerd husband 🙂

Beautiful art everywhere in Florence

Climbing up the Bell Tower

We also took a few side trips around the Tuscany area. Because of S’s nap schedules, we couldn’t go as far as Siena, but we did take a nice little day trip to San Gimignano one day. San Gimignano is a little medieval walled city, so S enjoyed running around without us worrying about cars (although because it was summer, there were SO many people. We got one of the last parking spots in the city!). I bought some handmade ceramics for the kitchen here.

Daytrip to San Gimigniano. M said the Tuscan countryside reminded him of Olive Garden. Facepalm.

Our airbnb was near Fieosole, so we popped down there a few times to explore and see another view of Florence. One random day we also took a half-day trip to a local town Scarperia e San Piero, which is very much off the beaten track. We had one of our favorite meals there at a restaurant where no one spoke English. The town is apparently known for their knives and we wanted to bring some, but by the time we made it out of the various museums all the shops were closed 😦

Fiesole and Scarperia e San Piero

We also went to a local wine tasting (although I still was recovering from Napa / Sonoma wine tasting so I personally only participated a little) and, my favorite, had FLORENTINE STEAK at a highly recommended local restaurant.

Wine tasting and S chasing pigeons wherever we went

Florence was so charming and the hills of Tuscany truly do roll gently. I’m glad we were able to visit, even if we didn’t make it to Siena or Val D’Orcia because they wouldn’t been too far of a drive with S. Next time!

The meats and cheese of Parma

Milan!

We flew out of Milan back to the US, so we had to drive back north after our 5 days in Tuscany. We stopped by Parma on the way back and had delicious pasta and parmesan cheese (of course!). We also did a quick day trip into Milan where we caught an outdoor classical orchestra concert.

Flight back to the US. Actually not bad because she still fit in the bassinet! But still. Flying with a toddler is not for the faint of heart.

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