Tuscany is a Treasure
After our Roman Holiday we boarded a train from Rome to Naples and with speeds up to 300km p/hour had us there in no time. After being collected from the railway station we were taken (with our luggage) to Pompeii for our private 2 hour guided tour.
With Mt Vesuvius in the background it was surreal to walk the excavated streets of Pompeii that was frozen in time. After the volcanic eruption in 79AD Pompeii remained mostly untouched until 1748 when a group of explorers began excavating the area. Our guide explained the fascinating history and different areas of the town to us, again bringing it to life and highlighting how important it is to have a guide.
After our tour we were collected again by our driver and taken to our accommodation on the Amalfi Coast – a small bed and breakfast in the heart of Sorrento for 3 nights.
Although most people overlook Sorrento and head to Positano or Amalfi, we found it a great place to base ourselves (without the hills to climb of the other towns). The winding streets and laneways were so quaint and at night it was magical with all the lights. We just loved to wander around and explore all the little shops, trying a bit of the locally produced Limoncello here and there. Dinner was at a great little restaurant with only 1 waiter who spoke no English at all. We shared the local specialties of an antipasto platter, seafood with bread, oil and vinegar.
Normally it is a great idea is to cruise down the Amalfi Coast and catch the local bus the other way however due to local fires the roads were closed. We took the return cruise and wow – the views were just like postcards. To see Positano and Amalfi from the sea, nestled into the rugged coastline was a feast for the eyes. We spent a few hours in Amalfi swimming at the pebbly beach where the tanned locals kept looking at our 3 blonde daughters in these foreign things called rashies. As it was so hot it was the perfect excuse to eat a few serves of gelato! On the cruise back to Sorrento we sat up top in the breeze with a prosecco and beer and taking in the beautiful coastline in the late afternoon sun.
Our next stop on our Italian adventure was Tuscany! After booking a driver to take us from Sorrento to Naples we boarded the train for Florence (another high speed train had us there by lunchtime).
Before collecting our car we had a walk around Florence, over the medieval stone bridge – the Ponte Vecchio and along the River Arno. Once we picked up our Fiat and loaded our luggage tetris style, we drove the hour or so to our Tuscan home for the next few days; Greve in Chianti. Thank goodness for offline map navigation!
We had 4 nights at Chianti Antico Pastificio, an old Pasta Factory, located down a tiny laneway we initially thought was a footpath. After being told to drive on in, we found ourselves in a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom apartment with gorgeous views over the terracotta rooftops of this little Italian village. I really felt like I could live here and the kids agreed as we heard the local school bell ringing in the distance. We hear so much about Tuscany so it had a lot to live up to and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We drove our little Fiat around the countryside, stopping at hilltop villages steeped in history. Walking the cobbled streets, taking in the atmosphere and stopping for coffee, lunch, pastries and gelato. So much to see and do! Bellissimo!
After our 3 days I was so in love with Tuscany but our next adventure awaited. We dropped our car back at Florence and boarded a train to France (via Switzerland) to meet up with friends at Lake Annecy – but that is another story!
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