Part 5 (The One that Stole My Heart)

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Not Your Mama's Spaghetti and Meatballs

I’ve kept you waiting far too long. I’m sorry. But there is more Italy to come, with tons of pictures in this edition of “Not Your Mama’s Spaghetti and Meatballs!” On to part 5….

Venice may be considered the Serenissima (most serene), but Tuscany is where I found my peace.

And Pinocchio. A whole lot of Pinocchio.

photo courtesy Ivana @ rgbstock.com

photo courtesy Ivana @ rgbstock.com

When we first began seeing little knick-knacks, pictures, objects, images—all featuring the dear little wooden boy—we were at the beginning of our journey, back in Lake Como. We assumed it was just the fact that we were in quaint little towns with quaint little shops. I mean, I knew Pinocchio and Geppetto were Italian, but he was EVERYWHERE (The entrance to the area leading up to our b&b contained a giant bust of a boy with a feather in his hat. At first, we thought it was Peter Pan or something. We learned pretty quickly after visiting the nearby towns.)

Then we began to suspect the cheeky little monkey was following us. Every town we visited—practically every shop—contained something with his likeness. When I looked it up, it turned out that they were from an unnamed town in Tuscany. So cue Tuscany.

And even MORE Pinocchio. They don’t play around with their Pinocchio.

Despite their fascination with him, he was not the heart and soul of Tuscany for me. This was the part of the trip I was looking forward to the most. I couldn’t explain why exactly, but I begged Jason to fit it into our trip. It was a place I’d always dreamed of visiting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Six days and nights on a mountain overlooking the town of Lucca. We stayed at Casa del Belvedere. a beautiful farm where they produce their own olive oil and figs, among other things. The owner greeted us at the farmhouse we were renting through Airbnb with a bottle of homemade olive oil, homemade fig jam, and a bottle of homemade dessert wine to go with the delicious cake his mother-in-law had baked us as a welcoming gift.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Talk about wow.

The vineyards were literally everywhere. Rolling hills, quaint little farms, spectacular vistas. Italy is the most amazing country I have ever visited, and Tuscany has sealed itself as my absolute favorite destination ever.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Of course, you can’t visit Tuscany without seeing the Leaning Tower. We spent a day there, taking a tour up the tower (cue more climbing and more of my foot problems…but it was my decision not to miss out on anything) and visiting the surrounding attractions and museums.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We even managed to catch another geo-cache there (did I mention the geo-caching yet?). We did at least one in each area we stayed at, but if you don’t know about geo-caching, you should definitely look it up. I thoroughly enjoy it as a side adventure when you are out and about sightseeing.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre was our next stop, and let me tell you: the picture may look just like all the others ones you’ve seen online, but it doesn’t do it justice. The colors are so vivid.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thankfully we opted out of the cliff-diving and instead did some sightseeing then spent some time on the beach before having dinner by the seaside. When we finally decided to brave the water, it was freezing. Freezing. This is the Mediterranean, people!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. The very essence of my soul. This was where I wanted to go more than anywhere else. I was so excited, not for any specific thing, but just for what the city represents.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I had been going on and on about Florence since before we even started planning the trip, so there was no way I was missing out on it. There’s so much art and culture there, so many old buildings that ooze history. The Campanile, or Bell Tower, in Florence, is part of the Duomo complex, which includes the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) and the Baptistery. After the Duomo, the Campanile is one of the most recognizable buildings in Florence. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe climbed the Campanile (my feet were in HELL at this point, but I refused to stop) to check out the view of the top of the Duomo and the scope of the town, which was well worth it. It was incredibly windy, but you could see for miles. As we stood there, I began to cry as a feeling of missing something I’d only just obtained swept over me. I didn’t want to say goodbye.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Ponte Vecchio (“Old Bridge”) is a Medieval stone arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. (Wikipedia)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Statue of Dante Alighieri

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

San Gimignano, admittedly, only came up on our radar because of its connection to Assassin’s Creed. The town is small, but we decided to check it out due to our familiarity with it, as well as the online images and descriptions. San Gimignano, known as the Town of Fine Towers, is a famous walled medieval hill town in Tuscany, in the province of Siena. The streets were cobble-stoned and narrow, and the architecture certainly lived up to the medieval feel. We spent some time at the top of the large tower, and ended our day in the gardens strolling as we listened to the man playing music in the main courtyard. At one point, we got sneaky and went scrumping up a tree for a plum 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No travel guide will ever do justice to the magnificence of the Tuscan countryside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stay tuned. Next up, Rome…

Series Navigation<< Part 4 (The One with the Assassin and the Accordion)
Follow me

Lisa M. Green

Author & Copyeditor at Lisa M. Green
Lisa M. Green is the author of The First, a novel of mythic and paranormal fantasy. She is also a high school English and Special Education teacher. As a life-long writer, she considered a career in screenwriting or journalism before deciding on a career in education. As a teacher, she enjoys educating high school students about writing.
Follow me

Latest posts by Lisa M. Green (see all)

Want a free PDF download of 11 chapters from THE FIRST? Sign up for updates and special offers!
SIGN UP

2 thoughts on “Part 5 (The One that Stole My Heart)

  1. Lisa M. Green Post author

    It was so worth it! I love to travel and see new places. and Italy has always been at the top of my list. There’s at least one more post coming since I haven’t even gotten to any of the stuff in Rome yet. But Tuscany was by far my favorite place.

    Reply

What Do You Think? Let Us Know!