Back end of August, we de-camped to Tuscany for a week. A bit of a last hurrah family holiday as a unit of 5, as at the end of this week our eldest de-camps to University and has intimated that he is unlikely to want to come with us again, which is fair enough. Good news is he still wants to tag along for our annual weekend pilgrimage to Lowestoft every July when we celebrate our wedding anniversary. A dual cause for celebration was my wife’s xxth birthday – it’s rude to advertise a lady’s age so don’t even ask!
|When's the re-make of Baywatch? Call my agent!|
Our itinery was fairly loose and free, as we were newbies to Italy; apart from me back in 1975 as an 11 year old on a church trip in Holy Year (I think I can safely lay claim to having been inside every Catholic church in Rome and the surrounding district, or maybe false memory just makes it seem like that!) and my son having a trip to Venice last year.
We flew Luton to Pisa on a Friday. Picked up a hire car and drove northwards for an hour or so to the village Piano di Coreglia where we had rented a villa. Late arrival in the evening meant we just dumped luggage and crashed.
Our week went thus:
Saturday - Barga and Lucca
Sunday – lazy
Monday – Viareggio by the sea
Tuesday – lazy
Wednesday – Florence
Thursday - lazy
Friday - Pisa and home
Accommodation - great, hosts – fantastic, pool – a bit cold but great fun, weather - fabulous – hot, but not too hot, food – fantastic. (The day before we travelled, I hit my target weight of 12 stone – 4 stone off in 25 weeks! That meant I could release the hunger monster inside me!) Plenty of pizza, not too much pasta for me – not a big fan, a few beers, a few glasses of wine – happy days.
Driving – hmm, no hiccups, but it takes a while getting used to travelling on the “wrong” side of the road, a few impatient drivers encountered – but no road rage, no cat’s eyes in Italy, so it was a bit hairy at times travelling back in the evenings when it got dark. Our village was in the sticks and whilst not isolated it was a bit of a trip traversing through the mountains and hills, either through tunnels cut through, or winding roads criss-crossing back and forth. Top prize to my son for his navigational skills as I would have taken a lot more wrong turns without him.
Barga – ok for lunch and a drink. Perhaps we were in the wrong part of town, but there wasn’t a lot going on.
Lucca – loved it. Great shops and cafes. Visited the Museum of Torture – I’ve obviously led a sheltered life and I couldn’t imagine some of the punishments thought up and on display. Nice evening meal in the square.
Viareggio – about an hour or so drive for us. Beach was ok, but the sea and waves were fantastic. A bit too hot for me, mostly reading in the shade when not in the water. Fantastic meal in the evening.
Florence – we had a drive of about an hour and a half to get here. Took on board a bit of culture. Climbed the tower to the top of the cathedral and saw the view over Florence – not too spectacular in my opinion, there’s a uniformity about the rooftops unlike London’s skyline which I viewed from St. Paul’s. Went and saw “David” by Michaelangelo – really impressive, plus a host of other religious pictures and sculptures by a lot of people I’ve never ever heard of. Had a stroll around the city, saw all the gold merchants on the bridge over the river – strictly window-shopping. Fantastic day and definitely a place I’d like to re-visit as we barely scratched the surface.
Pisa – amazing seeing the Leaning Tower up close. Didn’t climb it, none of us really felt the need to. Lunched here and had a stroll around doing some shopping before heading to the airport and home.
Other bits and bobs viewed – some underground caves at Grotto del Vento and the Devil’s Bridge – Ponte della Maddalena.
One of the most memorable holidays ever with the family!
|Lucca - I think!|
|Missed my pizzas!|
|Head football with competitive daughter!|
|On the bridge!|
|Too hot - time to wear a cap!|
|"David" - I'm the one wearing clothes just to avoid confusion!|
|With the birthday girl!|