trav·el: to make a journey, typically of some length or abroad
There is so much to love about traveling! Traveling allows one to discover new places and rub shoulders with different cultures. Whether you are traveling across the world or just a mile from home, it’s still allows for you to expand your horizons.
I love to travel! So much so, that on our wedding day, Kris gave me a pair of hiking boots for all of the adventures we would go on throughout our life together. Our most recent adventure was Italy, and it was everything I had dreamed it would be and more.
We traveled through the regions of Tuscany and Liguria, touring Lucca, Cinque Terre, and Florence. We chose these three cities based on their proximity to one another. I had always wanted to visit Lucca since my maiden name (Lucasey) originated from there, thanks to my third great grandfather who came over from Lucca.
Our first stop was Lucca, and it was definitely my favorite. The town is surrounded by renaissance-era city walls. We stayed in an Airbnb within the walls, which was located in a more residential area of town.
Walking was the easiest and most convenient form of transportation since you could walk from one side of the town to the other within about 15 minutes. There was no need for a car unless you were to go outside of the walls. We only did this once, escaping to the most beautiful winery that looked over the town.
If you ever go to Lucca, my number one recommendation is to visit the winery, Fabbrica di San Martino. My sister and brother-in-law recommended it to us, as they have stayed on the property. It is a hotel as well! We just stopped in for a wine tasting. Best wine I have ever had! Really, all the wine in Italy tasted better than any other I’ve ever had, but this wine in particular was just so different. The history behind the winery and the care given to the creation adds to the quality of the wine.
Our next stop was Cinque Terre. If you like seafood and hiking, this is the place for you! Cinque Terre consists of 5 seaside villages along the Riviera coastline. We stayed in the first town, Riomaggiore. These towns are filled with the most amazing colorful homes built on the coastal hillsides of the community, and the most fresh and delicious seafood that would tempt anyone’s palate!!
Between each town is a trail that runs from Riomaggiorre (furthest south) all the way up to Monterosso (furthest north). Unfortunately, while we were there, the trails between the first two towns were closed off, so we headed up to the last town, Monterosso, to hike from there to the next town, Vernazza. Apparently, the hikes get more intense between the first town to the last, so of course we chose the toughest hike, but it was worth it. The views were incredible and as soon as we finished the hike, we headed to the middle town, Corniglia, to go for a swim! The picture above shows the small inlet of water near the bottom of the cliffs which is part of the Mediterranean Sea where we swam. The water was chilly, but it felt so refreshing after sweating our butts off, and who wouldn’t want to say they have swam in the Mediterranean!!
Our last stop was Florence. It was more busy and crowded than the first two towns, but it was still just as rich in history and architecture. There was so much to see within the city, including two of my favorites, the statue of David and Piazzale Michelangelo.
Our favorite day in Florence was our last. Some friends had recommended to us a cooking class and lunch at a Tuscan Farmhouse with a local market tour. You learn to cook a 4 course meal from Carmela, a true Italian chef. Carmela described to us how she learned to cook as a child while helping her mother in the kitchen. Everything was made from scratch and OMG, you can’t imagine the incredibleness that it was!! It is described by Trip Advisor as “A hands-on experience designed for food lovers….allows you to explore Italian cuisine in more depth….pick fresh ingredients from a Florence market yourself and feast on the fruits of your labor…” Recipes are provided by email after the class, so you can recreate your experience at home too!
Roast Pork w/potatoes sautéed in OO and rosemary
The food was so fresh and full of flavor. My mouth is salivating just thinking of it all again. If you’re going to Florence, this is hands down my number one recommendation!
All in all, Italy was incredible, and we will most definitely go back. There were so many stops along the way between wandering the cities and finding our own spots, or recommendations from friends. These were just a few of my favorites. If you are planning a trip to Italy and want more information, feel free to send me a message with any questions you might have!