Monday, 29 August 2011
Quaint little hilltop towns contrasted with large bustling passionate cities, tall medieval mustard yellow buildings with green shutters and iron railed balconies line cobbled streets.
Large, ancient squares with imposing statues and outdoor gelaterias, where locals eat ice cream all through the day and into the night.
Gorgeous medieval distinctive architecture in every cathedral, belltower and any other important building; off-white Carrera marble with flashes of green and white and red Tuscan columns, positioned on top of each other growing the towers further and further skywards.
The best pasta you've ever tasted; sitting in little family-run restaurants with a glass of wine, some buffalo mozzarella, crusty warmed bread and some amazing lasagna, gnocchi or even just simple spaghetti al pomodoro, twirling it around your fork and slopping it into your mouth Italian-style.
Beautiful undiscovered beaches with raked golden sand, bright orange parasols and almost crystal blue water; calm sea with gentle waves that sweep you out to look back at the beach, the hot sky and the cascading mountains in the distance as you float.
Hazy evenings spent sitting in Florentine squares amidst imposing buildings and Roman statues; listening to a man playing classical guitar, watching the night pass by under candelight.
Tuscany. I knew it would be beautiful - but I had no idea just how beautiful. I've had one of the most wonderful weeks exploring Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Tirrenia and the surrounding areas (including a little detour to Rome on the last day of the holiday), and absolutely fell in love with the area - as you most probably can tell from my descriptions.
I'll write a few posts about Italy, over the next couple of weeks - there were so many amazing experiences during my time away and lovely little places and shops that I really do need a good few posts to share everything with you.
Suffice it to say for the moment, then, that the Tuscany region of Italy is stunning, and that you must go there at least once in your life. And as for me? I feel so completely refreshed, re-energised and re-focused on life; a holiday was just what I needed after a hectic rollercoaster over the past 12 months!