Firenze (AKA Florence)

We caught a train from Venice to Florence and checked into Hotel Spadei- down the street from the duomo and brand new, this was the most modern & updated place we stayed during our trip. And it had robes which make a hotel top notch in my book. They also had a little spiral staircase up to the top with a viewing room of Florence, which was a nice touch. Some how, we once again ended up with the only room a balcony. Not complaining.

We kicked off the afternoon with a quick bite to eat then explored the Boboli Gardens, behind the Pitti Palace, which were designed for the Medici family. Not nearly as beautiful as Versailles, but expansive. We started at the lowest point and worked our way up, ending at Belvedere Fortress which had a panoramic view of the city on one side, and olive trees and estates on the other. After the long walk/hike we were able to hang out at an awesome restaurant at the fortress that had a pop-up/outdoor club feel. It felt so strange in such a historic place, but we really enjoyed it.

That night we ate at Coquinarius (recommended by a friend) and had one of my favorite dishes of the trips. My stomach is growling just thinking about it!! Pear ravioli. Buttery and perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of cheese. The owner was very knowledgeable on wine and made great suggestions from the area. (At this point in the trip we were still ordering bottles of wine, instead of cheap house wine.) After dinner, we checked out a local brewery, Mostodolce, which was very cool, but the beer was just meh. If the beer isn’t on par somewhere, trust me, Dan is quick to point out what they did wrong. I loved that the walls were plastered with drawings and the cozy vibe was really nice.

We spent the next morning at the Uffizi (I finally learned how to pronounce it) surrounded by madonnas. There had to be dozens. Maybe hundreds. The word Uffizi means offices in Italian, which was the building’s original purpose. The amount of art the Medici family collected is amazing. I can’t imagine living in that time, going in for a meeting, and walking past works by Botticelli and Michelangelo. Stunning! The place is enormous… we thought we had reached the end only to continue on and on. We rushed through the last bit because it started to become overwhelming. And we were hungry for some pizza. So we found a cute patio at Trattoria Garibaldi then followed it up with some gelato at Perche No. Mine had fresh cherries in it. Dan’s was stracciatella…which is what he ordered every time. Boring.

That night was another amazing meal at Il Santo Bevitore. It was pretty busy, but they were able to squeeze us in. While we were waiting, we sat along the river and watched the sun set and it was so cliche and magical. Then the restaurant itself was romantic and THEN the duomo was stunning at night, the white reflecting the moonlight. Such a solid date night. We attempted to take a good photo, but weren’t successful. You’ll see.

Then we were in bed, to wake up bright and early for our Cinque Terre trip the next day!

Ciao!

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

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Dan and I leave for Italy TONIGHT! It will be his first visit and it’s going to be awesome seeing everything with him by my side. Plus we’ll be celebrating our one year anniversary! I’m a little in shock that it’s here and also crazy excited to just be there already, relaxing and enjoying an extended vacation. We start the remodel almost as soon as we get home, so preparing for that and a 2 week trip has been a little stressful. Okay, a lot stressful. But definitely the good kind of stress, thinking of all the fun things coming up. And also my own fault… ☺ Dan knows we are going to Italy, and I think he knows which cities, but that’s about it. HA. Lots of surprises in store for him! I, on the other hand, have a big spreadsheet with a tab for each city with ideas on what to do. Type A at its’ best. Or worst if you hate plans? I promise to still be spontaneous and not let a spreadsheet dictate the entire trip. And we are way open to suggestions if you have any! SO if you’re curious, here’s the itinerary:

Houston>>Istanbul>>Venice>>Florence>>Cinque Terre>>Arezzo>>Amalfi Coast>>Rome>>Houston

I think Dan is most looking forward to Venice, and it’s a toss-up for me between just hanging in the middle of nowhere in Tuscany, and swimming in the Blue Grotto in Capri. 

Unfortunately, Dan twisted his ankle this week while playing basketball. It’s bruised all the way around and so, so swollen. It’s such terrible timing but he’s been trying to just keep it propped up with ice on it as much as possible. Fingers crossed it’ll be healed enough by the time we get there, but we may renting a Vespa in every city if not. Thus getting to live out my Lizzie McGuire dreams

And if you’re wondering about Barley, he’ll be staying with his grandparents out in Georgetown, enjoying time away from the city ☺ Big thanks to them for watching our favorite pup. I only cried a tiny bit after leaving him. Dan says to think of it as doggie summer camp.

Ciao for now!

**photos from the best Box family vaca in 2013**