Italy Adventures!

7 Sep

Italy Adventures!

 

WP_000938-001

So I’m back from Italy and also back at school, so life is really hectic at the moment… Sorry for the lack of posts! This post is just to bring all you guys up to date on the most amazing trip of my life. Firstly, I must apologize for the picture quality, I unfortunately had to use my phone for all pictures as I forgot my camera like the feather head that I am! As most of you probably know I was in Florence, Italy for six days and I’ll say it right out, that city is AMAZING! I loved everything about it from the mind blowing gelato to the wonderful people to the beautiful narrow streets, it was like something you would see in a movie.

WP_000839

We stayed at a B&B instead of a hotel and it was the best idea ever. We stayed at Orti di Cimabue and the woman that ran it, Sandra, along with Giovanni were some of the nicest people I have ever met. They welcomed us with open arms and the room couldn’t have been more perfect. It opened out onto the garden, with a gorgeous breakfast served outside every morning in the cutest little garden.

WP_000615-001

 

 

Sandra had perfect English which was a great help for us and she had loads of knowledge about things to do, places to eat and must see areas. We would have been lost without her.

The city is breathtaking, I now understand why so many Renaissance artists and sculptors flocked to this city, it is steeped in inspiration and beauty.

WP_000642-001 - Copy

The buildings and architecture have been largely unspoiled and even though I call Florence a city, it feels much smaller and intimate when you let yourself get lost down the cobble-stoned streets only to stumble upon a tiny, unknown gelateria with gelato fit for a king.

WP_000669-001

It is these hidden gems that band together to make Florence a treasure trove of adventure and fascination. As for all the big sites that Florence is known for… Well there is a good reason they are so well known and it’s because they are all magnificent in their own way. The Uffizi and Academia Gallery’s are an art enthusiasts heaven, while the churches are something that everyone can appreciate simply for their beauty and feel especially the likes of Dante and Beatrice’s tiny, hidden church, that really is something outstanding. The people are wonderful, they are always so friendly and even though language was a big barrier for us, they nearly all have some English or at least try very hard.

WP_000840-001

And as for the FOOD! It was paradise, it really was. Between gelato and pasta and pizza and tirimasu, they just have cooking down to a fine art and I can only strive to be as good as the Italians someday.

WP_000645-001

The gelato is something I was very looking forward to and I have to say we really did make the most of our time on that front. I kept a track of each flavor we had tried and I made it my mission to try as many different ones as possible. It is very handy as it comes in all different size cups and it is the norm to put two or three different flavors in your cup.

WP_000980-001

This makes life much easier when you are trying to bless your taste buds with as many possible wondrous flavors as you can. In the end we had tried over THIRTY different flavors between us!

WP_000825

I was quite chuffed with myself, some of my favorites would have to be Biscotti, Nocciolo (Hazelnut), Black Cherry, Riso, Coconut, Gingerbread, Rose, Pear and Mascapone and Extra Dark Chocolate. These are only few of the most amazing gelato flavors you will ever find. I loved every minute.

WP_000928

 

The markets were a great area of interest for me, especially, Mercato Centrale, which was a huge indoor food market where you could get basically anything like meat, cheeses, fruit and veggies, bread, pasta and condiments such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

WP_000719-001

WP_000723

Everything was of top quality and it was quite torturous knowing that we were flying with Ryanair and could only carry 15kg! I did buy balsamic vinegar which is utterly amazing, and I now use it wherever possible.

WP_000711-001

 

The fruit and veg was just beautiful and I bought some to munch on for lunch one day, it was heaven and these grapes just captivated me so I thought I’d share them with you guys 🙂

WP_000715-001

 

We had to eat out every night while we were in Florence and you didn’t hear me complaining! The choice of restaurant was slightly overwhelming but Trip Adviser really was my saving grace. All the good restaurants were off the beaten track and out of the tourist spots but since Florence is so nice and compact it wasn’t a problem. Out of all the places we ate our favorite was Trattoria di Sordo which was recommended by Sandra and was the first and last place we had dinner in Florence.

WP_000990-001

WP_000988-001

The food was impeccable, full of flavor and beautifully presented, the staff where so nice and helped as much as they could with translating the menu and the atmosphere was perfect. My favorite dessert from the whole trip was one that I got here on my last night. It was lemon cake that consisted of a light, airy sponge sandwiched together by lucious lemon curd and finished with a generous dusting of icing sugar. Sounds simple but oh, it really was out of this world.

WP_000998-001

And to top it off they had the best Tirimasu out of all the three different ones we tried 🙂

WP_000993-001

 

Trip adviser really helped me find some absolute treasures that just blew my mind with how awesome they were. One was Gusta Pizza. After reading the reviews on TA, I was determined to get myself one of the famous pizzas so I figured out where it was and after about 20mins of taking wrong turns and getting lost, we found the little restaurant down a secluded lane just off Palazzo Pitti and to my horror they were closed! I was crushed, I went home that evening and scoured the internet to figure out why I had been deprived of delicious pizza. It turns out that lots of restaurants in Florence like to take a three week holiday in August. That really makes no sense to me but anyway. It was due to reopen on the day we were leaving so I dragged Mom all across the city to Gusta Pizza for a second time before we left and hallelujah, it was open! It really was worth the wait and I don’t think I’ll ever find a pizza as delicious again. I won’t even try to describe it because it was literally indescribable utter then pure bliss.

WP_001006-001

 

Another TA treasure was All’Antico Vinaio. It was a teeny, tiny sandwich shop just up from Gelateria de Neri that made the most drool worthy sandwich ever. You could also get wine for €2.00 with free refills, which is just an added bonus. There is always a huge line outside it that is a mixture of locals and tourists which is a sure sign of its quality. The ordering process is slightly hectic and stressful but the sandwich they hand to you at the end is so worth it. You can choose from a variety of spreads (sweet pepper, truffle, soft cheese etc) then veggies then cheese (mozzarella, pecorino, gorgonzola etc) and finally a meat (roast/smoked ham, salami, turkey, beef etc) The quality of the ingredients is impeccable and their bread comes hot from the shop across the street which they also own. The sandwiches are ginormous but don’t worry, you may initially feel stuffed but you will be back! I had sweet pepper, zucchini, smoked ham and mozzarella in mine.

WP_000820-001

 

One of our friends asked us to bring back some amaretti biscuits and wanting to get authentic ones we searched around and found an adorable little shop with all sorts of confectioneries in it from biscotti to nougat to chocolate.

WP_000923-001

They also had an extensive wine collection at the back. The range was huge and I’m pretty sure I looked slightly crazy as I walked around the shop with my mouth half open and my eyes nearly popping out of my head!

WP_000926

 

Even though we loved Florence immensely, we wanted to have one trip out of the city so we could witness the rolling Tuscan hills for ourselves. Since Tuscany is so well known for it’s wine, we joined a bus tour and went to a little winery in the heart of Chianti.

WP_000962

We got to sample five different wines, one white and four red and also balsamic vinegar, olive oil and grappe that they produce themselves. They served crostini, salami and pecorino with it which of course was quite scrumptious. I fell in love with the balsamic but it was unfortunately priced from €30-60 depending on how long it had been aged, which was kind of astronomically out of my price range!

WP_000963

They also took us to two little villages up in the hills called Castellina and Monteriggiano.

WP_000968

WP_000975

They were adorable and so picturesque. Many movies such as the Gladiator and Under the Tuscan Sun were actually filmed there.

These are just a few other pictures of super delicious food that will have me flocking back to Italy as soon as possible.

WP_000655

WP_000694

WP_000683

WP_000999

WP_000845-001

WP_000753

 

WP_000690-001

WP_001012-001

 

It was the best holiday I have ever had and I can’t wait to go back and explore the rest of Italy. My eye is on Rome or Venice now! As the food varies from region to region, I’ll be looking forward to delving into a new culture of food on my next visit and I would urge all of you, whether you have already been contemplating a visit to Florence or not, to go see it and soak up it’s beauty and more importantly its food!

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: