The time that I had been waiting for had finally arrived-my family visit to Florence! I have to admit the excitement of their arrival slightly took over my life on the days prior as I planned out each and every minute of what we would be doing, where we would be traveling, and what we would be eating (couldn’t leave that important detail out)! I even made a thorough itinerary, which I think excited my sister and mom but probably made my dad and brother slightly nervous for the busy week I had planned.
They arrived on Monday night and we headed straight to one of my favorite restaurants in the area, Trattoria Anita. If you are ever in Florence you seriously need to try this place-some of the best pasta carbonara of my life! The next day was filled with classic Florence activities. We started off at the Galleria dell’Accademia and saw the incredible David statue. I then showed them the Central Market and they were amazed at all of the fresh and delicious food. I sometimes forget what a privilege this is to have as my casual grocery market. We of course had to check out the leather market which my sister was thrilled to buy not 1 but 2 leather bags that she couldn’t stop talking about (or singing actually) all week. After exploring a bit more of my favorite areas and Piazzas we headed back to get ready for the beautiful night ahead of us. It was a gorgeous day so we grabbed a bottle of wine and headed up to the Piazza Michelangelo to watch the sunset over Florence. This is definitely a place that I am going to miss and I am so happy I got to share it with my family. We ended our night with the best truffle mac and cheese gnocchi (yes, that is a real thing) and some gelato (of course).
The next day we explored more of Florence and even had the chance to climb the Duomo. I waited until my family was here to do it and I must say it was worth the wait! On Thursday we had an early morning train to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is an area with five towns along the coast and quite possibly the most gorgeous place in the world. We lucked out with some gorgeous weather and spent our day tanning and shopping around the biggest town, Monterosso. We took a train to the third town and had the most delicious seafood dinner with a view of the best sunset I have ever seen in my life (sorry Piazza Michelangelo). The next day we decided to get back to our walking trend and we hiked for over two hours to a nearby town. It was certainly worth the views and beautiful town of Vernazza when we arrived. Cinque Terre seemed almost like a vacation from their vacation to Florence. It was so nice to have down time just to catch up and spend time together. We spent the entire time laughing and sharing stories of all of our recent endeavors. This past year, my brother, my sister, and I have all settled in different places around the world. My sister moved to San Francisco, my brother moved to Brooklyn and I of course am in Florence. I couldn’t be happier to be reunited again and it certainly helped that we were in such an incredibly gorgeous place. It was also a plus that we got to enjoy some of the best food and wine in the world together!
We ended our week together on Easter Sunday, which is quite the event in Florence. We were lucky enough to get into the Duomo for morning mass and that turned out to be one of the coolest things that we did all week. At the Easter mass each year, the Duomo has a special tradition where they have a fiery dove fly down from the alter, out the front doors and into a cart that sets off fireworks. I know-sounds crazy and I did not believe it until I saw it. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTNLEZw0hu0 . It was the perfect ending to our perfect week together in Italy. It was definitely hard to see them all go but it also made me realize how soon I will be home. I only have three more short weeks here. I cannot believe how fast this amazing semester has flown by but I will be sure to make the most of the rest of my time here.