Italy Adventure Pt 2 - Verona + Tuscany
After we left Venice on Wednesday morning, we grabbed the train to Verona. The train ride was a little under and hour and half which was perfect to do some reading or nap.
Wednesday, July 10th - Verona
Once we arrived at the Verona train station, we stored our luggage there so we wouldn’t have to carry it with us on our tour. It was the perfect solution! It is super easy and simple to do! Once we got squared away, we me our tour guide and visited the Valpolicella wine country, famously known for Amarone. While we were there, we visited Vini Nicolis winery.
The tour started off with a look at the property, followed by the room where they store the wine in barrels and ending with the bottling room. Any time I get a chance to learn about wine in other regions I find it a treat. I worked at a winery back in Iowa which initially inspired my passion for wine and viticulture.
After the tour, we got to have a sit down tasting and get a sense for all the wine maker’s wine. Needless to say we ended up buying a few bottles to take home with us.
PRO TIP: If you’re traveling to an area where you think you might want to purchase wine, you can purchase these guys here and pack the wine in your checked luggage. Shipping wine in general isn’t cheap and shipping from Europe to the States is a bit pricy.
After the wine tour, our lovely tour guide took us into the city of Verona where we got to see some beautiful sites, including the famous area of Romeo and Juliet. The square itself wasn’t terribly large and lots of people gathered. It was pretty neat to see it all.
By the time the tour ended it was afternoon and time to pick up our rental car. The rental car was reserved through Eurotravel. Something to note is that majority of vehicles in Europe are a manual transition. If you want an automatic, it may be a bit more difficult to find and you’ll pay a premium for it. Mike and I both got our international driver’s liscene. It was around $35 to order and ship. As of this post, you don’t need an international driver’s liscene to rent a car in Europe, but the reason why you’d get it is in the event if you got pulled over, you’re required to have it. I say it is worth it. We got the car, went back to the train station and started our 2.5 hour drive to Florence (located in Tuscany region).
We ended up staying in the gorgeous castle that was a little outside of Florence (about a 15 minute car drive to get into the city proper). We unpacked and got settled in for the next 5 days!
Thursday, July 11th - Florence
We slept in a little bit that morning which was sooo nice to do because we had some early mornings…or at least “early” in the sense of being on vacation. We even got a workout in with these new resistant bands I bought for the trip. Which I’m loving now that I’m home! I’ll be doing a blog post about them at some point I’m sure, so stay tuned. Once we got ready we headed off to Greve in the Chianti region for a food and wine tasting at Castello di Verrazzano. The views, food and wine at this place were stunning. I highly recommend if you get a chance to visit Tuscany to put this on your list of to-do’s.
After our tasting we drove to the city of Greve to explore a bit. When it got closer to dinner time we started making our way home with a pit stop at a local grocery store to pick up some food and necessities for the remaining days in Florence.
Friday, July 12th - Florence
We got up early and got ready because we had a segway tour right at 9am in the heart of the city. I really enjoyed the segway tour and it was a great way to see the city! Afterwards, we grabbed lunch, walked around the city before heading to the train station for our next adventure, “Cooking with Art.”
It was a pasta, pizza, wine with music experience outside of Florence hosted by chef Elenora. The entire experience was fantastic from learning about the different types of flours, how to make proper pizza crust and different types of pasta. Around 9pm we grabbed the train back into Florence.
Saturday, July 13th - Florence
On Saturday we explored near by cities including San Gimigano and Siena. Both cities were quaint. San Gimigano sits up on a hill top and overlooks Tuscany. That evening we had dinner at Arnolfo. Because the restaurant was a good 45 minute drive away from where we were staying and reservations were at 8pm, we decided to get a hotel just for the night that was within walking distance of restaurant.
Sunday, July 14th - Florence
We had a slow morning before heading back to Florence where in the afternoon we caught a bus to the country side to then ride vespa's in hills of Tuscany. It was stunning. There was a little bit of a learning curve when it came to Vespa’s. But everyone learned and soon we were on our way! We head out and visited a winery (it was the first time in my life that I went to a winery and didn’t get the chance to taste wine ;). Once we got back to our meeting spot we then walked to a winery near by where we got to taste wine, then headed back for dinner and wrapped up the night around 10pm.
Monday, July 15th - Depart Florence
This was our final day in Florence. It was sad to leave the castle we stayed because it had been our home for the past 5 days but we were ready to move on and explore our next leg of our Italian adventure. Because it was raining for majority of the day we weren’t in any rush to get to our next destination, Zoagli (only a 2.5 hour drive from Florence).
The 3rd and final pt or our Italian Adventure will include Zoagli, Cinque Terra, Portofino and Genova.