We arrived here in Florence on Sunday evening, our friend Estelle and her pal Philadelpho picked us up from Pisa airport and we walked outside to the car and were immediately hit with the heat. Even in the evenings in Tuscany the warmth is relentless. The journey was incredibly smooth, both kids were superstars, happy to people watch, movie watch, feed and snooze on the plane. The flight was the perfect length (2.5 hours), especially for us travelling for the first time with two kiddos. On the drive from Pisa to Florence I fell in love. Sun bleached buildings, some half built, too hot to complete in the tuscan sun, I imagine. Land and mountains stretching out on either side of the road and ahead, bulging with fresh produce, vineyards and olive groves, thriving in the climate. Sunflower fields upon sunflower fields with bright yellow heads all tilted up in the same direction, row after row in worship of the sun.
We drove into the city at golden hour so Philadelpho kindly drove us up to the best viewpoint in the city so we could see the whole of the ancient terracotta city laid out before us as the sun drifted over. Beautiful.
Estelle's apartment is a gorgeous two bedroom traditional building, yellow with green shutters - typical Italian architecture with balconies and a lovely garden with apple, fig, persimmon and pear trees providing some much needed shade. Everything here is so effortlessly rustic. It seems like such an obvious thing to point out.
The heat builds from mid 20's in the mornings to mid 30's in the afternoon and doesn't cool off properly until late at night. Thankfully Estelle's apartment keeps cool, and we have fans in each room for ease of sleep.
After a quick bite at the local beautiful pizzeria we went to bed late and a bit restless on our first night, our bodies - little and big - adjusting to the heat (and maybe reeling from the delicious late night carb consumption). We took a walk into the city on our first day; Florence is a relatively small city to navigate with plenty of piazzas for pitstops. We had a stop for cold brew and fresh orange juice at a great little coffee shop, a stop for gelato (heavens above), and a good wander around the centre of the city.
The kids have been amazingly relaxed about all the newness and the temperature. Ada is feeding much more (through the night as well - wah!) but is so chilled out during the day and Levi is in his food happy place, eating pizza and gelato at every opportunity. We aren't really museum-type folk, so maybe we are missing out a bit on the historic side of things, but with Stella as our very own guide, we are able to live a bit more like authentic locals, which has been lovely and how we like to do things really. We're even enjoying fresh veg from the garden of some of Estelle's friends. I have never tasted tomatoes so sweet.
We have spent the last two days mostly exploring the local community pools and gardens, which has been such a massive relief from the heat during the day. Everyone (bar one lady who shouted at me for putting my tiniest toe on her towel) has been so friendly, fawning over the baby and being playful with Levi - I had forgotten how kind Italians are with children, how respectful and inclusive they are. It's refreshing.
Some pesky mosquitoes (send remedies!) have helped themselves to my legs and our pram wheel has punctured a couple of times but other than that we cannot complain and we are looking forward to getting a car tomorrow to explore some of the villages around Florence. If you can think of anywhere or anything we MUST do or see in the next 10 days, please do let me know!
Ciao for now amicis!