florence & tuscany
Next on our trip was Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. As a former Art History minor, I was blown away by the architecture and authenticity of the city. There is so much to see in Florence in terms of famous paintings and sculptures!! You definitely need a couple days alone just to appreciate them all.
There is also a fabulous leather market in Florence for those looking for a new purse, wallet or jacket. Any colour, any style, they had them all. I saw leather jackets in every colour of the rainbow! The vendors there can be a little in your face so if you get overwhelmed by pushy people (like I do) I recommend bringing an enforcer (que Kyle).
Another thing to note is that some of the vendors might be selling goods they claim are full leather but aren’t. At the time I almost bought a beautiful buttery soft brown leather jacket that I swear was made for my body and I ended up walking away because I wanted to think about it a bit more. I then found a video (here) which shows someone talking about some of the gimmicks the vendors use to upsell you a jacket. The man I had talked to previously about the brown jacket had done almost all of these to me! I couldn’t believe it. The most important thing I learned was that the back panel of the jacket, which has the “Genuine Leather” tag on it has to be, by law, leather. However, the side panels and sleeves, which DON’T have a tag on them, might be something else! The video talks about which questions to ask so I recommend watching it if you plan on making a stop there. I still think the market as a whole is a must-do, however make sure you do your research so you don’t get scammed!
Another thing we did on our trip was a day-trip outside of Florence to explore the Tuscan region. It started with a tour around a winery to see how they age, package and send out wine. Did you know barrels made with different wood will infuse the wine with different flavours?
We then climbed back into our car and made our way to a small, family owned farm where we enjoyed an hour horseback ride through rolling hills and winding vineyards. As someone who loves to horseback ride, this was my favourite part of the trip hands down. The views were absolutely breathtaking, the weather was perfect, and I felt we had a totally authentic experience of Tuscany.
After that, we piled back into our car again for a wine tasting at a winery that has been family owned for over 200 years. Paired alongside the 7 or so glasses of wine we got to taste were meats, cheeses, and the best, melt-in-your-mouth lasagna I have ever eaten. It was served with truffle oil and to this day Kyle and I still rave about it to our friends.
Finally, we popped a bottle of champagne “Napoleon style” (a.k.a with a sword)! It was absolutely perfect.