Tuscany Bike Tour: Put The Fun Between Your Legs!

When people ask me for travel tips or recommendations for fun things to do in Florence one of the first activities that comes to mind is the Tuscany Wine and Bike Tour. Of course some other, more obvious, sites come to mind as well. However, the Tuscany Wine and Bike Tour has proven to be one of few SURE THINGS when it comes to the satisfaction and enjoyment of countless friends, family members, and students I have recommended it to.

Two happy customers about to hit the road

Anyone, regardless of age, athletic ability or inability, interest or disinterest in wine can appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of such a tour. A few years ago, I moved from Florence back to the U.S. unsure if or when I would return. I had a long check list of things to do and see before my departure. I spent hours planning where I would spend my last dinner, what I would order, what my final gelato flavor would be, and which route I would take for my last Florentine walk. With one day left to enjoy in Italy there was clearly only way to spend it – with my closest friends on the Tuscany Wine and Bike Tour. Here is why… Continue reading…

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Mission Impossible: iced coffee in Florence

Although Italy boasts some of the best HOT coffee the world has to offer, they have yet to tackle the world of ICED coffee. The summers in Italy, especially Florence, can be brutally hot so you would imagine the idea of adding ice to coffee would have hit home here, but it has not.

Now, there is a perfectly good explanation for this. First, Italians really don’t put ice in anything, let alone coffee. Coffee for them should be super strong and not diluted in any way. They also, as I mentioned in a previous post on coffee, do not tend to drink lattes or cappuccinos as often as Americans do and these are really the coffee drinks that lend themselves best to being iced. The vast majority of Italian coffee breaks are spent drinking espresso shots that would be quite silly on ice. Finally, ice and other very cold drinks are, in general, not thought of “healthy” in Italy. This is especially true of ice-cold milk.

I am not saying that Italians are wrong. Think how often your dentist tells you not to chew on ice. In a similar vein, Italians see ice and iced drinks as shocking to your system and an unhealthy habit. That being said, when it is 90 degrees out and you need to be caffeinated, it is really hard to turn to a steaming hot cup of coffee. Continue reading…

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My favorite Sunday walk in Florence

One of the very best things about Florence is how walkable it is. I never missed my car and the city never felt too large to manage by foot (though a bike is always fun too). Finding little hidden corners was one of my favorite past-times, an activity particularly suited to Sundays when much of the rest of the city was closed.

Below is a map with one of my favorite Sunday walks. It took advantage of some of the hills and hidden back roads so as to avoid crowds and get some new views of the city. Continue reading…

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Shhhh! It’s a secret (The Secret Bakery in Florence)

This once secret, now not-so-secret, bakery is still one of those really fun things to “discover” in Florence (its address, not that it matters, is Via del Canto Rivolto, 2). At 2 am there is nothing better than a cornetto alla crema (cream filled croissant). Tip: keep quiet, be ready with your order, and have your money at hand. The woman who owns this place will kick you out if you take too long to ask for your pastry of choice.

Because this little street is very rarely listed on maps of Florence, we are including a map that even gives you directions from Via de’Benci. Continue reading…

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Day Trips Outside Florence

Siena's main Piazza, the Campo

I noticed this article about Florence on the Huffington Post the other day that lists 8 great day trips outside Florence. They are absolutely right that the city can sometimes be a bit overwhelming and crowded and that, luckily, it is easily accessible to many other amazing cities that will feel significantly less crowded and just as picturesque (if not more so). The winners according to the Huffington are:

1. Siena. Couldn’t agree more. A wonderful city with some amazing vistas and killer food, not to mention the most gorgeous Duomo around. Continue reading…

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