Adventures in Tuscany

George and I had a wonderful honeymoon in Italy. This marks part three in a series where I share our photos and fun little tidbits from our adventures.

After quick stops in Venice and Florence, George and I switched things up with a longer stay in Livorno, Italy. It’s a working port city that has a little bit of grit, which allowed us to get a better feel for what Italy is really like. Plus, Livorno is well situated on the western coast, on the Mediterranean and within the Tuscany region.

Visiting Livorno, Italy

At this stop we stayed at an AirBnB apartment, so we really were living like the locals. We did a lot of walking around town, and noticed so much graffiti. It seemed like few things were spared, and even statues in the middle of plazas were covered in tags.

Sitting outside at a bar in Livorno, Italy

Livorno Terrazza Marsagni boadwalk

Livorno, Italy sunset | a vacation recap

We did have one of our nicest exchanges at dinner one night in Livorno. We were out for a stroll and randomly picked a pizza place that seemed nice. The owner was very welcoming, and gifted us free tiramisu when he learned we were on our honeymoon. Plus, we discovered that we nearly had the same wedding anniversary and that he had visited New York on his honeymoon two years earlier. Neat coincidence.

Lucca, Italy -- visiting the walled city

Plaza in Lucca, Italy -- a trip overview

Old church in Lucca, Italy

We used our strategic location in Livorno to take some really fun day trips. One day we went to Lucca, a walled city. It was a fun experience to walk up to the giant wall and imagine what life was like hundreds of years ago. Once inside, it was a cute Italian town with old churches and interesting museums.

Jumping on the wall in Lucca, Italy

The path along the wall’s edge was a beautiful walk, and many people were riding bikes. I just took goofy jumping shots on the edge.

Wine touring in Tuscany, Italy -- along the Strada del Vino

Another day we had probably the most ridiculous experiences of the trip when we attempted wine touring. We had located a few wineries within a short drive of our apartment that were listed for tastings. When we arrive at the first stop, there were two elderly women working on making wine. We eventually communicated what we were looking for (wine!), but we barely know Italian and the woman didn’t speak English. After a lot of miming and looking up phrases in a book, we quickly tasted some brilliant Chiantis, delicious olive oil, bought a couple bottles, and jetted out of there.

Lost in Tuscany, Italy

Since wine touring had sort of been a bust, I suggested we just check out the closest town that we had passed. After parking in a lot, we got a lot of curious stares from Italians waiting at a nearby bus stop. It could have been because there was almost nothing to be found for visitors—no restaurants, no shops, nada. No wonder why people wondered what we were doing.

Sunflowers on the side of the road in Tuscany

After driving around a little more, we found another place that had “wine tasting” painted on a sign out front in English. Bingo! We figured that we were far enough out of the way that it would still be authentic, but an English sign must mean someone can communicate with us. We were mostly right. As we drove in, a young man landscaping outside stopped us. He told us to drive up the hill for wine tasting, and he would be right up in 5 minutes. Talk about full service employees. This guy turned out to be great and let us try all 7 wines they made. We tried very hard to communicate, and used Google translate when things were too complicated for our respective skills.

Also, an interesting tidbit. In the spots we tried wine in Italy, there was no fee to taste the wines, even though they were often very generous pours amounting to nearly half a glass. In the U.S. we’ve always been charged to taste at wineries, and sometimes it’s been $15 and up! Since we received such warm welcomes at both wineries, we of course bought bottles, but there’s only so much we could bring home with us.

Swimming in the Mediterranean in Italy

So happy to be in ocean

Another wonderful experience during this part of the trip was swimming in the Mediterranean. We stopped at a giant public beach, Parco Costiero di Rimigliano, and hiked out to the water. It was exquisitely beautiful and the water was the perfect temperature. It was amazing weather, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer beach day. If you’re ever on the Western coast of Italy, go to the beach! It’s so beautiful and you’ll feel elegantly European.

Our lives were about to get a little busier, because as we left the beach we headed to our last stop: Rome. Next time I’ll share our escapades in this ancient city.

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