These past ten days have been a wild ride filled with eating, shopping, culture and architecture.
The countryside in Tuscany is gorgeous with patches of yellow sunflowers and vineyards everywhere. We walked around the city centre passing churches, city squares, restaurants and shops. We climbed up four hundred steps to Torre Del Magia, for a spectacular view of the city. The climb was tough but the view made it worth it. After that it was time for the Civic Museum, where there was a timeline of the Italian government, and the Teatro Del Rinnovati - an old hospital where archaeologists discovered cities built on top of other cities. After spending the afternoon in Sienna, we went to Antinori Chianti Classico winery in the Tuscan Region. We sipped on rosé and learned about the history of the Antinori family. The rosé was delicious and worth the drive!
The drive from Arezzo to Cinque Terre was nice up until the mountain to get to Monterosso. It started pouring and the mountain was covered in a thick fog, we could not see two feet in front of us. Cinque Terre is comprised of five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Levante and Riomaggiore. All of the five villages are accessible by train or by hiking. We hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza up the side of a mountain in the heat and we were quite thankful when we arrived. We took the train to the other villages and walked around the shops. Each village has something unique to offer to the thousands of tourists that visit each year. My favorite village by far was Monterosso. It had a spectacular view of the ocean.
Off to Florence on day three. It is a city filled with gorgeous architecture, culture and fabulous shopping. Florence has the best leather shops in Italy, so of course we spent the day shopping in the leather markets surrounding the Duomo and all of the various Piazzas.
That afternoon we went on a private winery tour of the Ornina winery. The Ornina winery is privately owned by a guy whose family has been making wine in that region for four generations. We learned all about the process of growing just the right grapes, to fermenting and bottling of the wine. It was a really cool experience. We tasted four different kinds of wine. Good thing I was not driving because I was a little tipsy by the end of the tour!