After a long journey from Sorrento, we had spent the first day of our stay in Tuscany just relaxing at our lovely villa in the countryside south of Florence. Feeling fully refreshed, we were now ready to explore this beautiful part of Italy.
We awoke to a nice sunny Tuscan morning and had breakfast on our terrace over looking a valley filled with vineyards and olive groves, as the morning fog lifted and disappeared into the warm air.
We were heading into Florence today to pick up a rental car for our week in Tuscany, and with such a lovely sunny morning to enjoy, we decided to walk all the way to the the town of Figline Valdarno, where we would catch the train into Florence.
I had heard that a walk in the Tuscan countryside is one of the most peaceful things you can do, and as we walked along the narrow winding road, I could see why. We followed the little road down the hill, past vineyards and olive groves, a farmer tended to his vegetable garden, and birds chirped in the trees lining a tranquil little stream that ran along side the road. With every corner we turned, another beautiful scene would come into view. Every vineyard covered valley was different, and every centuries old farm house had a different kind of character.
The walk was so enjoyable that we had no idea how far we had walked and how much longer it would take to get into town, and we didn’t care, because life here seemed to be about taking it slow and not going anywhere in a hurry.
We eventually made it into the little 13th century town of Figline Valdarno at the bottom of the valley, where we got lost wandering it’s streets before finally finding the train station.
The train into Florence only took about 25 minutes, and we arrived in time to enjoy a nice lunch in this famous art city.
We had come here today to pick up our rental car, but with plenty of time to spare, we couldn’t resist having a bit of an explore. After picking up our car, we parked it straight away and took a walk along The River Arno, famous for it’s bridges. I fell in love with the city almost immediately.
After seeing the famous and beautiful Ponte Vecchio, we passed by the Uffizi Gallery (one of the greatest art galleries in the world) to see if we could buy tickets for another day. Unfortunately it was closed, so we continued into the Piazza della Signoria which is dominated by the Palazzo Vecchio, the beautiful medieval palace that is now the town hall of Florence.
From first impressions, Florence seemed to have everything that I love about an Italian city: Great food, culture, history, friendly people and incredibly beautiful architecture.
It was now getting late in the afternoon and we had to begin the drive back to our villa, but I was looking forward to spending more time in this fascinating city.