Greetings, and welcome to the five-part blog series on our recent travels to Italy!
EAT MOVE REST IN ITALY
A 5-PART TOUR
Below you will find a handful of helpful information on delicious dining, fabulous fashion, and stunning sights from the 5 places that Dusty and I visited during our summer vacation abroad!
If you haven't already, check out Part 1 for an Italian, plant-based primer, and a taste of Venice!
VENICE // FLORENCE // TUSCANY // ROME // POSITANO
Part 2: Foodies In Florence
cradle of the renaissance
Dusty and I aren't much for tours and itineraries--when we travel, we want to venture out into the unknown. We love to immerse ourselves in the culture and do as the locals do. It felt so freeing to wake up every morning without an alarm, enjoy a relaxing, fruitful breakfast, and step out the front door without a plan or a care in the world!
Traveling from Venice to Florence by train was a breeze, and as we continued to explore Italy, the feeling of fitting in began to surface.
Sometimes you've got to wing it. Step to the ledge, spread your wings, and fly!
Flourishing In Florence
Florence, or Firenze, to the locals, felt like the perfect symphony of old and new. Known as the "cradle of the Renaissance," this city holds a wealth of history, up against a bustling, modern mecca. Dusty and I could feel the pride and heritage alive and well, as we stepped out onto the streets to the sound of drums thumping and horns blowing. Hundreds of men and women marched by, dressed in classical garb from another era, smiles on their faces, with an eagerness to stun sightseers.
Wandering onward, we caught ourselves, mindlessly crossing streets without looking both ways. After the quiet, narrow, motor-less corridors of Venice, the whizzing Vespas and automobiles were a bit of a wakeup call! We passed in and out of fashion-forward shops, and squeezed our way through busy streets, lined with mega-stores, and banners strung about, advertising fresh, modern art exhibits. So far, Florence seemed to have a bit of everything from every era, for everyone!
One of the most stunning sights of the city is the massive Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, better-known as the Duomo. Our stay in Florence would be brief, so we opted to marvel from the exterior, and skipped the lines to tour the interior.
As we rounded the mighty facade, we were met by a fresh fruit and juice stand! The cherries continued to satisfy, and the local produce was proving to be just as delightfully abundant as it was in Venice!
This was the epitome of Florence--an age-old city with a fresh funk--we came to a flea market in a piazza, swamped with artisans and craftsmen, selling one-of-a-kind gems. We decided it was time to grab a bite before diving into the endless pile of treasures, and lo and behold, a restaurant right around the corner, titled #RAW invited us in. Who would've thought you could find a raw vegan restaurant right in the middle of the oldest cities in Italy?!
The ambiance was unique, refreshing, and almost otherworldly. We ordered one of everything on the menu--raw pad thai, a burger on a buckwheat bun, and a rainbow veggie wrap. We were more than full, but we of course saved room for dessert! We savored every bit of a peanut butter cup and a coconut ball followed by two scoops of delectable, dairy-free gelato.
Following our feast, we navigated the flea market and climbed the stairs to wander inside of an inconspicuous church. There was a service at 6pm, so we stuck around. The beauty of the Catholic Church is that no matter where you go or what language you speak, every Mass is the same.
Fine Dining In Firenze
We spent our next morning jogging and hiking to the top of Florence, for what is said to be the most stunning sight of the city--the Boboli Gardens. We enjoyed a bowl full of cherries overlooking the rooftops and rolling hills, and then weaved our way back down, taking notice of the ratty yet beautiful, age-old olive trees.
Later that evening, we stumbled upon yet another fantastic vegan restaurant. Although we did not use the Happy Cow app to find this gem, I did a search for it and discovered that it was not yet listed. Check out the listing I contributed to Happy Cow to help future plant-eaters to discover and enjoy Nirvana Ristorante!
We enjoyed exquisite, superfood salads followed by a marinara pizza. Dusty even found a gluten-free version of his favorite birra, Peroni!
Florence Is For Lovers
As we made our way back to our Airbnb, we were stopped in our tracks by the breathtaking view of the sunset overlooking the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge, and the Arno River below. Florence would be our shortest stay of the trip, and not until we got home did we begin to hear whispers inviting us to return.
Bold + Neutral
There was no in-between in Italy--it was either neutral linens in shades of white and beige, or bold brights, accented with pops of color. One thing was certain--less was more; the temperature was rising and sleeves were out of the question!
Travel, Wander, Explore
Our biggest takeaway from Florence, or Firenze, was to "Wing it!" Sometimes it's best to do away with the itinerary and ditch the plans. Forego tours and lines for finding yourself amongst the locals, trusting that all will be well. Take notice of how life's synchronicities and serendipitous moments spontaneously arise!
The true magic happens when you let go.
Stay tuned for EatMoveRest In Italy, Part 3: Taste of Tuscany, coming up next! We'll be bringing you more helpful insight on being plant-based abroad, as well as more food, fashion, and fun! Also be sure to check the EatMoveRest YouTube channel for the latest recap there! Until next time, explore more!