The Tuscan adventure part 1- An evening in Collodi

Hello beautiful friends,

I’ve been a terrible ‘blogger’ this past few months. Kidding, I am no blogger, but it’s true that for about half a year I’ve written, well, practically nothing. Why is that one may ask? No idea, I shall answer.

However, I am back in full force, ready to commit, once again, to writing. Not daily, this time, but at least weekly.

This Summer’s adventure was dedicated to ‘la bella Italia’, and more precisely: Tuscany. Tuscany’s been on my bucket list for a long time, because of its spectacular views, the medieval and picturesque villages, its wines and the tasty ‘gelato’. So, this year, after plenty of debate on whether: ‘should I just stick to a classical summer holiday at the seaside or embark on an adventure?’, I chose the latter.

Tuscany is located in central Italy and its regional capital is Florence. I assigned two full days in Florence, out of the nine I had planned. This ensured me about seven days to stroll around and visit as much as I could of this region.

Packed with a big luggage full of comfortable dresses, Dalai Lama’s book on happines (The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama) AND another book on my phone (Still Me (Me Before You, #3) by Jojo Moyes), about three lessons on Duo Lingo (which ensured me I had a minimal vocabulary of Italian, mastering Ciao and Buongiorno 🙂 ) I disembarked in Bologna Airport.

The ‘home’ for this trip was Adua Apartments in Montecatini Terme. Montecatini Terme is located 45 minutes away from Florence and 30 minutes away from Lucca. The place- Adua Apartments- was astonishingly beautiful and I highly recommend it. The host was wonderful, the location was great and it was beautifully decorated (more on that, here).

We arrived in Bologna at about lunch time and headed towards our destination in Montecatini Terme about two hours later, because of an endless queue at the Car Rental. Between Montecatini Terme and Bologna there are around 130 km, so roughly 1 hour 15 minutes on the highway. Keep in mind that in Italy, highways are toll roads and you have to take a ticket at the entrance gate and pay just before exiting the highway. The price we paid from the airport to the hotel was approximatively 10 Euros.

We decided to start our trip with a quick afternoon visit to Collodi and end it with a night walk in Montecatini Terme.

Collodi is practically the birthplace of Pinocchio, but its history dates back to the 12th century. It is a medieval village, which amazed me and quickly became a true delight. Right at the base of the village there is the imposing Villa Garzoni, built in the 1700s, and its gorgeous gardens. Right at the top there is the fortress which offers breathtaking views over Tuscany. Walking throught the narrow and steep streets of Collodi, you can not not be amazed by its well preserved state. Its charm is palpable. The quiet and peace are overwhelming and you quickly relax and feel at ease. Endulge yourself with a gelato at the base before heading to the next destination.

Montecatini Terme, opposite to Collodi, is considered to be one of the biggest Spa Towns in Italy. In the 20th century, a bunch of hotels, restaurants, theatres and even night clubs and a casino were opened, and it quickly became a trendy destination for the famous people back then, like Giuseppe Verdi, Pietro Mascagni, Ruggero Leoncavallo and others.

We returned to Montecatini Terme after sunset, prepared for some shopping or at least window shopping, as the shops were still open. We had a delicious diner at Fishing Lab with some wine, excited for the days ahead.

“In the Land of Toys, every day, except Sunday, is a Saturday. Vacation begins on the first of January and ends on the last day of December. That is the place for me! All countries should be like it! How happy we should all be!”

 Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio
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