You know those moments in your life where you feel like you life is all of a sudden playing out like a film ?
I had one of those moments a few weeks ago in Italy. Actually 5 whole days of moments feeling like a movie if you want to be more specific.
I was so lucky and privileged to be invited to photograph a 50th birthday party weekend in a hotel/villa/winery in Tuscany and I decided to go early and make a long weekend/workation of my trip. I spend 9 hours getting there by train, 2 nights in the beautiful ( and very full of tourists ) northern Italian city of Florence, as well as two nights about 30 minutes outside of Florence in the Tuscan hills, before returning home back to Munich again by train.
It all felt like a dream. The Italians know how to treat you well, that is for sure. From their friendly and helpful gestures, their music, art, food, and their personas oozing with charisma. I could sit and watch people all day ( which I did a lot in the images below ) and see the scenarios that play out on the stages in these italian streets, paths and dinner tables. It is so mesmerizing!
Taking a solo trip to Italy felt a bit like a reunion for me. I travelled to Europe for the first time with my high school in 2004 when I was 16, as well as another time in 2010 at the age of 22. Twelve and Eighteen years ago. I often felt like I was going back in time while revisiting the places I had discovered as a young woman back then. And then reminiscing about all that has changed since then, as well as all that has not.
What I learned while there? Well ….
- Gelato prices have gone up from 1 Euro a scoop to 2,50 euros a scoop. And three gelatos a day is my limit. But they are very worth it.
- Pigeons and tiny dogs constantly fight for territory in the streets of Florence.
- Your stomach will hurt if you only eat pasta, pizza, gelato, pastries and red wine constantly for 5 days.
- Italian vespas always come out of nowhere.
- A friendly hand is always there if you ask for it. Especially when it comes to emergency bathroom situations !
- Turning on location services on your iPhone is sometimes ( not always ) important to find your bearings.
- Renaissance architecture, paintings and sculpture are truly magnificent.
- Never underestimate sleeping in a villa with 3 meters ceilings, marble countertops and crisp white sheets. It can make anyone feel like royalty.
- Talking to artists and spending time watching others work is very inspiring.
- AND last but not at all least. Travelling alone, even if only for a few days is so so important for personal growth.
And of course, here is a list of places I visited while there :
- My inner City Air BnB run by the very helpful Jane for 2 nights.
- The amazing Mercato Centrale where you will find all the food you want and need.
- Paolo, one of the only true leather artisans I found in Florence ( the rest are all tourist traps )
- The best ice cream in the city, Gelateria dei Neri.
- A must stop to get warm and dry and see Da Vinci’s works, The Uffizi Gallery.
- One of the best views of the city, Piazzale Michelangelo.
- An amazing vineyard tour/hike, wine tasting and lunch at the Castello di Abola
- And of course, the highlight, the magnificent food, wine, views, location and hospitality at the Torre a Cona winery and estate. Thank you so much for hosting me !
A huge thank you as well goes out to to Ralf for inviting me to partake in his special weekend. Below are the many photos of both rainy and damp, as well as sunny and windy Spring days in Tuscany. If you ever need a trip to indulge all your senses, this is the place to do it. See you next time, Ciao!