Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1712: Florence & Lucca September 2009
By Liebeg from Virginia, Fall 2009
Trip Description: September 5-19, 2009 -- Brief highlights of a week in Florence and a week in Lucca.
Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Florence, Tuscany
Categories: Vacation Rentals; Day Tours; Sightseeing; Wine Trip; Independent Travel; Small Group: 5 to 9
Page 1 of 1: Florence & Lucca September 2009
September 5-12, 2009 – Florence
Week one – Borgo San Lorenzo Apartment Galeota (6 adults week one) Rented through Ville et Village. Carolyn and her team are the best.
Wonderful apartment – 53 steps up (only time that was a problem was luggage day), which was also arrival day after overnight flight from the US. We loved this apartment. Nice high ceilings, very roomy, plenty of room for six or eight (as we had on our last day). This apartment has everything that you need four bedrooms, two bathrooms, washing machine, dishwasher, hair dryers in both bathrooms, air conditioning and a wonderful terrace. The stairs to the terrace are a bit steep, but it is worth the climb. The view from the terrace is San Lorenzo church. The sunsets over the church are spectacular. Many happy “Happy Hours” were held on the terrace during our stay.
While in Florence we visited the Uffizi, and the Academia. I recommend that you pay the extra €4 to pre-book tickets for these museums. While the lines were long for entry, I was able to take my pre-booking email to the ticket office, get my tickets and walk right into the museums past the lines.
We also visited the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens. After our visit to the Boboli Gardens we had a Wine Tasting booked through Segway Tours of Florence. This was held at a very cute wine bar directly across the street from the Pitti Palace. Eduardo was great in his explanation of the wine regions and wine varieties. I would definitely do this again. It was inexpensive €29, and we tasted four white wines and three red wines each with different cheeses. This is just a tasting so there was not a lot of food, but just enough to see how the pairing of cheese and wine makes a difference.
Meals in Florence – our favorite place was located on our street Borgo San Lorenzo, we loved Pizzeria Nuti, we also enjoyed Giannino, directly below our apartment, the wait staff at both places were wonderful. The only bad meal we had was at Donatello in the piazza behind the Duomo. I had eaten there on previous trips to Florence and the food was good, but this time it was awful – AVOID THIS PLACE AT ALL COSTS.
September 12 – 19, 2010 – Lucca Italy
Week two – Il Mezzanino apartment, five adults -- also rented through Ville et Village.
Il Mezzanino is located on Via San Gregorio inside the walls of Lucca. It’s a charming apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, one of the bedrooms is a single and quite small, but it worked out fine for one adult. The master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom which worked out well since we were one couple and three singles. The kitchen is well appointed and very Tuscan. We loved it. Four of our friends stayed at the Hotel Universo, it’s an okay hotel.
While in Lucca we rode bikes, visited churches and wandered the streets. We were there for the Luminaria of Santa Croce; the town was quite crowded on that day.
My favorite restaurant in Lucca is Antico Sigilio. Awesome pizza and porcini mushrooms.
We booked a winery tour of Lucca wineries in the hills above the city. We booked through Not Ordinary Ways. They were quick to respond to my emails and all the information they sent was very clear. There were no surprises about price, transportation or logistics.
Chiara was our tour guide, she was fabulous. Nine of us met at the Not Ordinary Ways office in Lucca for a wonderful day. We went by mini coach (driver Ricardo, also fabulous) to two different wineries, the first Fabbrica San Martino, which is located at the Villa Sardi in the hills above Lucca. Beppe the owner, gave us a fine description of his wine making strategy (organic and macrodynamic), we then viewed the vineyards and had a tasting of his wines and some cheeses. From there we went to Fattoria Colle Verde for a wine and oil tasting and wonderful lunch. Our meal at Fattoria Colle Verde started with three different bruschette, followed by pasta, meats and dessert. I would recommend Not Ordinary Ways and this winery tour to all. The wines in this region are different from the wines in Southern Tuscany, but are still very pleasant. We chose this tour because it was close to Lucca with not a lot of car time.
This was a fabulous vacation, and I can’t wait to go back again next year.
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