And we’re back with some photos of the remainder of the big trip! Tuscany is a place that you always hear about, but I feel like not many people make it past Florence to the smaller Tuscan towns. Lucca was a nice welcome after braving the crowds in Florence. The streets were quiet and breezy and it was the first time we felt like actual locals. Plus we had the most delicious pizza of our trip there, at a family-run place called Pizzeria da Felice, where one of their specialties is “cecina” which is a salted, fried chickpea pancake.
Pisa is only 20 minutes from Lucca, so we had to check out the Tower of course. We were left speechless by the Duomo though..so beautiful with its ornate and lavish detailing.
One of the highlights of the trip was our bike ride on top of the medieval wall that surrounds Lucca. Many Italian towns have walls that used to keep the city protected in case of a barbarian attack. This particular wall was so thick that the top of it was turned into a dreamy park, where you can ride bikes or walk around, gazing at the town to your left or the Tuscan landscape to your right. It was some serious magic!
We were pretty sad to leave Lucca, but on a friend’s gelateria recommendation, we headed to San Gimignano. What a cute town it was! And yes, that gelato was worth the special trip…Gelateria di Piazza was mind-blowing. The gelato artisan was a part of the team that won the gelato World Cup two years in a row (I love that there is a World Cup for gelato!) and can I say that it was leagues above anything else we had the entire trip! We then stopped for a simple and delicious lunch at Gustavo Bar Enoteca, and purchased tins of olive oil made in San Gimignano to bring home for our family and friends.
Feeling a bit rushed to get to our next destination, we popped into Siena for a few hours, had dinner and went exploring around the medieval town.
Moving on…we drove about 2 hours south to the tiny town of Saturnia. Our hotel, Terme di Saturnia, is a spa resort where we recuperated from all the intense travel for a couple of days. Down the street from the hotel there is an area where water gushes into a large natural pool, flowing over a waterfall and down to a series of natural pools carved in the rock. It looked like something from another planet! Strange and fascinating, all at the same time. The warm thermal pools are said to have healing properties and many Italians still drink from the springs or breathe their vapors to relieve everything from asthma to backaches. I might mention that the springs have a pretty strong sulphur smell which takes some getting used to!
We had SUCH a wonderful time in Tuscany! But we had no idea what we were about to experience in our next destination…the Amalfi Coast. Stay tuned for the dreamy details!