When you travel, there are places you visit that leave you it utter awe, some others that shake up your cultural concepts and then, there’s those that warm your heart and make you feel at home. The latter is true about Italy in my case; after all, any society that worships food & sun as much as I do, is bound to leave a mark on my diary.
Our trip to Tuscany was a long awaited event this year and, oh man, it really didn’t disappoint. We got to meet a close friend of mine that moved from Cambridge to this stunning Italian region where food overflows the plates, people smile at you when passing by and the summer light bathes the streets with the most beautiful colours that the human eye can perceive. Do you think I am exaggerating? Have a look by yourself!
Viareggio and Lucca
We spent one and a half days in Viareggio, a seaside city surrounded by marble mountains to the west of Tuscany. It is a summer destination for nationals and tourists alike. Its sandy beach is kilometres long and behind it, there is a promenade flanked by numerous Italian leather and fashion shops, gelaterias and romantic buildings. We went for a walk there on our first night, ice-cream in hand, and were pleasantly surprised to find a lively buzzing city on a summer night.
The second day was well spent by the sea. Although my beach pictures are not blog-worthy, I can tell you this pale skin soaked up on vitamin D like there’s no tomorrow. We also treated ourselves to deep fried fruti di mari while listening to the swaying waves. Tell me if that’s not the perfect Saturday plan…
Once our skin was on the verge of turning lobster-red, we got ready for the next adventure: a ride up the marble mountains to admire the breathtaking sunset amongst the cypresses in La Culla and have dinner at a typical Tuscan restaurant, Casa Luciano, where they served homemade meat-stuffed tordelli and other regional delicacies. I thought I’d dress up for the occasion and so I was finally able to wear this amazing floral print dress that made me feel like an authentic Italian mamma!
After two magical days in the west, we left the coast and headed off to the interior in order to visit the walled city of Lucca on our way to Florence. Lucca is an atypical Tuscan city known for its well-preserved Renaissance walls surrounding the old town and for being the birthplace of Puccini, the famous opera composer. Nowadays, the top part of the walls is a pedestrian promenade lined up with trees where tourists and locals can cycle, jog or have a walk while overlooking the old city rooftops. Apparently these walls were also used for racing cars back in the days, which tells you how wide their walkable part is!
La piazza dell’anfiteatro in the centre of Lucca’s old town, with its perfect elliptical shape, was once the marketplace of the city, but it’s now a buzzing area filled with restaurants, craft shops and cafés: a must see if you ever visit! Other thing we enjoyed about this little Tuscan gem was the many XII century churches that are very well preserved, displaying contrasting marbles and cake-like layers of statues and ornaments in their facades. These below are some shots of the San Cristoforo and the San Michele in Foro churches. Picture us walking with our necks twisted upwards while trying not to slam any obstacles along the way 😉
For this occasion, a light wear and comfortable ensemble was appropriate, so a new pair of flowy culottes for an all-black look with pops of red was my choice. Didn’t I tell you culottes are a girls’ best friend in summer? I stand by it over and over again. Next stop… FLORENCE!
After having some more pizza and gelatto in Lucca (is there ever too much of this pair?), we drove off to Florence before sunset, last stop of our trip and a city I was very much looking forward to getting acquainted with…
A stormy sunset overlooking the Ponte Vecchio, our first glimpse of the imposing cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, the hyperrealistic sculptures adorning every piazza, the many quaint little streets flanked by pink facades and wooden shutters… the list of memories is endless.
It may have been my dire need of a new landscape, but while visiting Florence, I took everything in eagerly, the colours looking deeper, the light shining brighter, the air tasting sweeter…
I thought for a while about how to describe this city that you may have heard of a thousand times before, and whether I should make a list with recommended spots, but the truth is that we were on a fairly relaxed mood when we got there, so we put ourselves in the trusted hands of a local (thanks, Nico!), and only worried about the next meal and ice-cream of the day instead of trying to tick things off a list.
Therefore we did visit some of the uber-famous attractions of the city, but we mostly walked random streets, had deep conversations, ate more than we should have, avoided queues, discovered hidden corners of Florence and fabricated memories that we will cherish forever. We snapped some of those memories along the way, of course, so I won’t apologise for the number of pictures but rather hope that you will feel like you were on the trip with us, even if for a moment ♥
Frames of the cathedral’s facade and of the baptistery’s Gates of Paradise
Reproduction of The Kidnapping of the Sabine Women in Piazza della Signoria
Reproduction of Michelangelo’s David in front of the Palazzo della Signoria
We definitely left things for another trip to Tuscany, where we hope to find the same welcoming atmosphere that made us feel at home this time. Ciao, bella Italia, e a presto!
Have you ever visited Florence or Tuscany? What was your favourite thing about it?
Hope you have the most amazing week, glamistas, and to my British friends, enjoy the long weekend!
Peace & Love