Italy 2023

January 17, 2023

My Under The Tuscan Sun moment minus the total life crisis.

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In March I’m going to Italy.

By myself.

Well sort of. I’m going with a group that my friend Sara has organized.

But Dan and the kids are staying stateside while I go and explore Florence, Tuscany and Cinque Terre for a week.

I’ve never been to Italy. In 2014 Dan and I spent a month in Europe exploring Lucerne and Geneva Switzerland, Annecy and Paris France, Antwerp Belgium, Amsterdam Netherlands, Munich Germany and Innsbruck Austria. And it wasn’t until starting to think about this trip that I realized how much planning Dan actually did for that trip.

He booked the hotels and AirBnBs and all the train tickets. He researched how to take a bus from Geneva to Annecy. I was good once we were on the ground with finding places to eat and things to do.

So for this trip to Italy, Witte Travel & Tours is doing the job Dan did.

They have planned experiences and excursions and our lodgings and our travel between the cities. Each day at least one of our meals is included – either a group meal or as part of an excursion – but I’ll need recommendations for the rest! If you’ve been to these towns let me know.

DAY 1 | San Gimignano & Volterra

Breakfast and dinner at the hotel and lunch is at a family-run farm specializing in saffron. There’s also been talk of visiting an ancient gelateria in San Gimignano so I think I’m all good for meals.

I’m also not sure how much time we’ll have for exploring these cities but if you’ve been tell me your favorite spots!

DAY 2 | Tuscan Vineyards and Chianti Valley

Breakfast and dinner at the hotel again and lunch is at a Tuscan castle. After a cooking lesson. (I know right?) And after lunch we’re stopping at a Chianti vineyard for a lupper of homemade olive oil with bruschetta, salumi and Pecorino cheese. Then we return to the hotel for dinner and “an evening of leisure”.

Italian night club? Maybe. Going to bed early? Maybe.

DAY 3 | Florence

Breakfast followed by a three hour guided tour of the city. We have a few hours in the afternoon to explore further before dinner together. So, what do you recommend?

  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Duomo
  • the Uffizi
  • Accademia
  • Markets
  • Gardens
  • Squares

(I am getting a feeling like I’m going to want to travel back to Florence because the few hours of free time in the afternoon aren’t going to be enough)

DAY 4 | Pisa, Lari and La Spezia

Breakfast and then a two hour tour of Pisa, including a view of the leaning tower. Then Lari, a Tuscan town located inside castle walls with a visit to The Famiglia Martelli which has been making pasta since 1926. Exit through the gift shop.

Lunch and dinner are on our own today. Lunch will probably become an impromptu group thing since we’ll be between the Pisa and the pasta tours. We’re staying the night in La Spezia. I don’t know exactly where we are staying yet but if you’ve been, give me the ristorante you loved.

DAY 5 | Cinque Terre

Here we go. We’re making our way through five UNESCO World Heritage recognized hamlets – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. We get to travel through these towns by boat, train and foot.

Breakfast is at the hotel and lunch will be in one of the towns but dinner is on our own again in La Spezia. And another “independent evening.”

DAY 6 | Rapallo, Santa Margherita and Portofino

Breakfast before a walk around the historic fishing village. Then we visit a restaurant where we will learn about the history of, and how to make, pasta al peso Genovese. And then we get to eat it.

After lunch we will explore the Italian Riviera and take a ferry out to Portofino and return by boat to Santa Margherita. There will be a bon voyage dinner for our last night abroad.

This trip is going to be so wonderful and I’m going to come home wanting more. Have you been to Florence, Tuscany or Cinque Terre?

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