Always take the road less traveled.....
I find the easiest way to really learn a new area is to take a morning run, go up and down the streets passing shops and locals....and hopefully finding your way back. This morning I woke up really early and went for a run, I slapped on my sneakers and turned on my ipod and ran.....it was amazing.
The caffes were just opening shop, and the smell of fresh coffee gave me the extra boost I needed to run all the way to the duomo....I caught the last half of the sunrising and took a moment to sit on the steps of a big catherdral to catch my breath.
This is a great time in the city, early in the morning, the tourists are still sleeping and you really get a chance to chat with the locals....its amazing how quickly you find yourself lost in conversation with a complete stranger,who inevitably becomes a friend....
On Saturday we took a bus tour to Chianti, stopping briefly in Greve and then ending at a winery/villa. This place was breathtaking, honestly the pictures look unreal. We tasted different wines (chianti clasico) made at the villa and snacked on fresh homemade pasta, cheeses and cold cut meats. The day way long, and extremly memorable. Check out the video, hope you like it!
The roomates and I had a free day on Sunday so we jumped on the eurorail and planned a day trip to Lucca and Pisa, possibly the most fun Ive had to date.
Lucca is a little town, surrounded by a huge wall built many many years ago to protect them from being attacked. I really consider Lucca to be a hidden treasure, the town is small but wonderful. For 2.50 euros you can rent a bicycle, and ride on the top of the wall (very much like a street) and see the whole town from a great view. Many of the locals run the wall or walk their dogs their, it was possibly the best 2.50 I've ever spent.
About an hour away (on a train) we got into Pisa just as the sun was setting. We took that time to take extremly touristy pictures of us pushing the leaning tower of Pisa (I know...I know how original). Sadly, we couldnt get into the church because mass was in service, and they close it to the public them. Sooo we did the nest best think, we had a drink.
We settled into a little outside ristorante' and drank some much needed cold italian beer, as the sun began to set.