Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fun in Tuscany

You would never know by the rain today what a beautiful weekend in Florence it has been. Friday and Saturday were sunny and around 15 degrees celsius . We have midterms at Lorenzo di Medici this upcoming weekend so instead of traveling we stayed home in Florence to 'study'. 

And by 'study' I mean: 

Friday: Horseback riding, wine tasting, and dinner excursion in Tuscany. We did all this through a company called 'Fun in Tuscany' and had a ball! All the roommates, including Danielle's mom and aunt who are visiting, and I got picked up in Florence early in the afternoon by our fabulous guide, Sam. Sam ("hi, I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like green eggs and ham") then drove us about thirty minutes outside the city to the horse-stables in the Tuscan country side. Sam (who, throughout the day became not just our tour guide but our cowboy, photographer, entertainer, story-teller, wine expert, D.J., and any other odd job that we required) got us all saddled up and we were off. We rode on a beautiful trail ride through miles and miles of red wine vineyards.  The highlight was definitely seeing the incredible pink sun set on the seemingly endless vineyards. 

After saying Ciao Ciao to the horses we went into the quant little town nearby for our wine tasting. Sam had promised we'd be trying some of the best wines of Tuscany and Sam didn't disappoint! 

After learning about and trying a handful of Tuscan wines we went to our family style traditional Italian dinner. Sam had us laughing throughout the entire meal with his italian jokes, tricks, and stories. After a full 'Tuscan' day we headed home. Sam, careful not to let the fun dwindle, continued to entertain on the ride home with his 'One Nation, One Station' car D.J, expertise and had us all perfecting the hand motions to a rocking 80's Italian classic. 

Saturday: Hiking in the mountains of Fiesole. Kelly (one of my roommates) and I signed up for this hiking excursion with our School. Fiesole is a part of florence that is in the mountains and overlooks the city part of Florence. A short bus ride takes you to the town on Fiesole and then from there there are many hiking paths which provide INCREDIBLE views of the ENTIRE city of Florence. Although waking up early and heading out for a 10 kilometers hike seemed a little daunting for a lazy Saturday, I am SO happy Kelly and I dragged ourselves out because this hike was AMAZING. The views were astonishing and the terrain was so different than anything I am used to. One minute we'd be walking through an almost desert-like area with cactus and the next minute its muddy and wet because of the underground waterways that are seeping to the surface.

We followed the hike that Florentine Stone Masons would take to the top of the mountains to retrieve the stone to build  many of the structures and churches that make Florence what it is today. The hike was quite challenging, I cannot even imagine doing it while carrying a hunk of stone! 

Horseback riding!
Red Wine Vineyards 
Fields in rural Tuscany 

Wine tasting 

Great view of all of Florence 
Kelly and I on our fabulous hike! 

Stone used to build Florence 


Castle where Madonna and Guy Richie got married 

We could see everything from way up here! 
Such a fabulous weekend in Florence, I cannot believe I am surrounded by so many beautiful things! 

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