Johannesburg to florence with swiss Air.
I recently spent ten days in Italy and as it was my second visit, I wanted to explore the less well-known part of central Italy.
In Florence I met up with my wife who had flown in from Brussels.
From the hotel, close to the airport, we wanted to catch a bus to go into Florence, but it rained so hard that we had to go back to the hotel. Nice start to the holidays!
The next day we left Florence in our cute black Fiat 500 ( my wife's suitcase took up all the space in the boot, so my small suitcase had to go to the backseat) and we arrived in Castiglione del Lago on the shore of lake Trasimeno. Beautiful, green, quite place and very friendly people running the hotel.
Next day we took off to Assisi and visited the town and from there we drove to Norcia reowned for its produnction of black truffle. We spent two days in Norcia and drove around to explore the countryside.
We travelled further South to a less known region called Maremma. We visited a town called porto Santo Stefano and landed in Piombino, where we again spent two days. Napoleon Bonaparte spent some time in this city before being forced into exile on the island of Elba. We took the ferry to Elba where we spent one day.
From the coast we could see several islands, one of which was Corsica!
Next day on the road, direction of Livorno. We stayed one day in Castiglioncello and as we wanted to visit San Gimignano we spent one night there, in a beautiful hotel called La Collegiata. ( We finally managed to find it after our GPS directed us to the local cemetery!)
End of the holidays and back fo Florence where we each took our flights back home.
As Italy is full of Tourist traps here are few addresses in Florence that i visited with my wife:
Brown sugar Lounge Bar - Piazza San Firenze (?)
Perfect for a drink in the afternoon or before dinner. The staff is extremely professional and friendly. And they have a good selection of wines.
Antica Trattoria II Barrino - 71 via Gioberti
A real Florence Trattoria serving geniune tuscan food. I sampled their rabbit as well as Bistecca alla Fiorentina. ( Starter, main and dessert ar 35€ per person)
Enoteca Pinchiorri - 87 via Ghibellina
One of the most famous restaurants in Italy and number one of my holidays. ( Price around 200€ per person for an eight course meal, without wine - heavy price but unforgettable meal)
Vivoli Gelateria - 71 via Isola delle Stinche
Ah gelati! No trip to Italy without sampling gelati and this one is very famous and has the most incredible flavours like peanut and honey. Not bubble gum flavour like in pretoria but a to die for pear and caramel flavour.
Mercato Centrale - Piazza del Mercato Centrale
Food market in a huge hall where you can sample all the specialities of Toscana. Fresh produce at very reasonable price and perfect for lunch. I was impressed with their Mozzarella and Burrata.
If la Dolce Vita is your dream, try the Cafè la Dolce Vita owned by the famous designer Roberto Cavalli, where you can see his top model having drink.
Castiglione Del Lago
One of the nicest villages in Italy, on the shore of the lake Trasimeno, with a beautiful viez of the lake from the ramparts of the 14th century castle.
Hotel Aganoor - 91 Via Vittorio Emanuele
We spent two nights in that three stars hotel at 80€ for a double room, furnished in an old fashioned refreshing style. Lounge with facilities for tea and coffee which one can sip comfortably seated on the couch in full view of the lake.
Breakfast is included and is exceptional for Italy, where breakfast consists of espresso and a pastry. Lunch and dinner equally enjoyable to be sampled on the shaded lakeview terrace.
Umbria - Valnerina
The Capital town of the black truffle and salami in Italy. For our two days stay we had truffle breakfast, lunch and dinner. This truffle is more subtle in flavour than the French truffle but of excellent quality.
Taverna Dei Massari 13 Via Roma
Sample their ravioli with mushrooms and truffles.
Excellent professional service