Recent Travels: Tuscany

I just got back from a wonderful week-long vacation to Italy visiting my sister who lives in a tiny town about an hour south of Florence. She works for a study abroad program for East Carolina University so we had Thanksgiving dinner with 80 students, faculty, and Italians. It was a wonderfully unique Thanksgiving.

If you are planning a trip to Tuscany. These are my top places to visit and things to do!

Cooking Class

Hands down the best thing we did was to take a cooking class. We did ours with Montese Cooking Experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough. We had the best time. Our group of 5 did a private class and learned to make two kinds of Tuscan bread, homemade pasta with bolognese sauce, spinach ravioli from scratch and tiramisu for dessert.

Montese Cooking Experience, ItalyMontese Cooking Experience, ItalyMontese Cooking Experience, ItalyIMG_1308

Climb to the Top of the Duomo in Florence

The city views from the top of the Duomo in Florence are amazing. It’s a great way to see the city. It’s not very expensive and your ticket includes access to climb to the top, entrance inside and also the museum. It’s a very cost-effective way to see the city!

Florence, Italy


Italians eat super late in the evening, but they have an amazing snack time called Aperitivo. You go to a bar and for essentially the price of a cocktail you can get a cocktail and snack. Sometimes the snack is very simple (bowl of chips), other times it is a full spread of pasta, salads, bread and basically is a full meal. Be sure to order an Aperol Spritz at least once as your cocktail of choice!

Day Trip 

We did day trips to San Gimignano (car trip) and Siena (easily accessed by train). Both towns were beautiful and we loved walking around and checking out the little shops. If you go to Siena, be sure to check out the Duomo di Siena – it is breathtaking. And, in San Gimignano, go to Gelateria Dondoli for the most delicious gelato!

Siena, Italy


Buy Souvenirs at the Grocery Store

We almost exclusively bought our souvenirs at the grocery store. We saved a ton of money and everyone that we brought things back for loved their gifts. Just be sure to check the laws of the state you are going through customs in to be sure what (and how much) you can bring back. 

These are a few things we recommend.


It was an amazing trip and we can’t wait to go again!

I traveled to Italy with Allie from The White Apartment, be sure to also check out her trip post as well.



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