After our delightful day trip to Pisa, Haley and I were ready for another day in Florence. We decided to switch it up a bit and signed up for a bicycle tour! We met early and got fitted for our bikes and helmets and met our amazingly knowledgeable guide, Philip.
After some bike safety basics, we spent the morning riding around Florence, stopping at various monuments and historical sights for brief explanations and interesting tidbits from Philip. Our group consisted of about six people so it was not difficult to hear or stay together.
As the morning wore on, we made our way out of the city and up the hill to the Piazzale Michelangelo.
The Piazzale sits on a large hill and offers the most stunning panoramic views of Florence and is well worth the walk or ride, especially at dawn or sunset!
We took in the views, took lots of pictures and then walked even further up hill to the Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte, a beautiful church, considered to be the most scenic in all of Florence.
We continued our trek towards through the Tuscan countryside to Galileo’s house! This was his last residence before his death.
We stopped for a family style lunch at a quaint restaurant close by that was just opening for the day. The restaurant had beautiful views and a sweet courtyard garden out back.
After lunch we hopped back on our bikes and made our way to Villa Le Piazzole, a gorgeous historical Renaissance Villa that has been turned into a bed and breakfast.
There we toured the estates organic vineyards and olive groves where they produce their very own wine and olive oil.
We then made our way through the unbelievable villa and it’s perfectly manicured gardens, stopping for a brief respite by the pool 🙂
Next it was time to really cool down, with a trip underground to the Estate’s cellars!
We were met with a table equipped for a wine and olive oil tasting and much cooler temperatures! It was the perfect break from the sun and we spent some time resting and chatting with our group.
When it was time to say goodbye to the Villa, we rode back into town (downhill, thank goodness! Especially after all that wine!) and bid goodbye to our tour group. On our way back to our hostel, Haley and I stopped by Gilli, a famous Florentine sweet shop and also encountered a bit of street art.
Our final stop was at Il Porcelino, the “Bronze Pig of Florence” where we were sure to put a coin in the pig’s mouth and rub his snout for good luck.
When we returned to our hostel we were surprised to find our new roommate had moved in. We were met by a suitcase and several pairs of men’s shoes in place of Juhi’s things. We were a bit nervous about having a roommate who was not only a stranger but also of the opposite sex, but when we finally met Sam, who was from London, he turned out to be absolutely lovely (and thrilled to tell his friends he got to room with two American sisters!).
Sam joined us for dinner that evening at Obika, Mozzarella Bar.
The restaurant was very trendy but the food was tasty and we enjoyed getting to know Sam. Afterwards we strolled the streets of Florence and took in a few of the recent art installations in honor of Men’s Fashion Week.
The next morning it was off to the train station as Sam moved on to Barcelona and Haley and I made our way to Rome!