Day 7 –  Leaving Monterosso for Florence 

Leaving early to thoroughly enjoy our day at our last location we found ourselves on the bus going through small charming towns that led us to a field trip of sorts at a local Olive Farm owned and operated by two sisters whose relatives long ago worked there. Hearing the how and why they decided to take a chance at running the farm was truly a wonderful moment for us. Also learning how they harvest the olives still to this day, in some cases, using an old American World War II parachute to catch and collect the bounty. We also experienced an olive oil tasting. The quality of the farm’s olive oil was undoubtably the best oil we have ever tasted. The lunch at olive farm continues the theme, yet again, of simple yet delicious. Afterwards we were able to purchase and ship (thank goodness) any of the olive oil they produced. The olive farm was a highlight of our trip and a fond memory we will cherish.

Arriving in Florence midafternoon we dropped off our belongings at the hotel and we were off for a walking tour of the city’s historic center with Cristina and a local guide. Words cannot describe all the art and sculptures we saw that afternoon. A memorial to represent a tragedy, The Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo di Firenze, and the Accademia Gallery where we viewed the amazing masterpieces were highlights of the day. However, nothing compared to the Statue of David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Awe inspiring! You would have thought by now, with all we saw, that seeing more museums would have lost their luster, but not at all. At every turn of a hallway or street corner we were amazed at all the works of art and representations of history. Years ago one of our children’s teachers shared that the purpose of public art was to entertain and make you think. Everything we experienced did just that. After dinner, the evening ended with a rooftop sunset at our hotel and a bottle of vino with other hotel patrons and members of our tour.

Day 8 – A morning spent walking along the Arno River, going to The Uffizi Gallery and viewing, yet again, multiple works of art, learning about the rise and fall of The House of Medici, ordering a glass (or two) of vino from the Buchette del vino (wine windows) of Florence, were all memorable experiences that only the Florence can offer.

We ended the evening with a group dinner at a local restaurant where, (you know I am going to say it), the food and wine were simple and delicious. We snuck up to the rooftop of our hotel to experience the city’s breathtaking view one more time before we left Florence.

Day 9 – At breakfast, our tour group sadly said our goodbyes and well wishes to each other and thanked our wonderful guide Cristina.

There is a saying that all good things must come to an end, our Rick Steve’s Heart of Italy tour was surely only a beginning for us. 

On Days 10 -13 we were Venice bound and those days are not included in our scrapbook. The experiences of Days 1-9 were everything we dreamed of and more. The sights, friendships, experiences, smells, food, wine, travel accommodations (bus and hotel) were absolutely way above par!

A quote to summarize our trip to Italy “La vita e’ bella” = Life is Beautiful! 

We hope you enjoyed reading about our journey and looking through our scapbook. Our hope is for us, and you and yours, to have a beautiful life full of joy, happiness, and many travels!

Florence, Italy, renowned as the birthplace of the Renaissance, captivates with its rich cultural heritage. Home to iconic landmarks like the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio, the city boasts exquisite art, architecture, and history. Florence’s charming streets, delectable cuisine, and the majestic Duomo make it a timeless masterpiece of Italian splendor.