I’ve always wanted to drive an original Fiat 500 ever since my pal Hornblowertravels mentioned them many years ago with his ultimate goal of driving one back to the UK across the Alps. That never happened but while planning a week’s break to Florence (inspired by the Dan Brown book Inferno) everything suddenly fell into place and we booked an all-day Fiat 500 group tour to see what they were like!
Posing for some pictures at our first pitstop
We chose My Tours’ 8.5 hour trip as we wanted to experience driving one for the day and not just be behind the wheel for a token half hour or so. It also meant we could see the stunning Tuscany countryside from behind the wheel before being city-bound in Florence for the rest of our 4 night stay there. Continue reading
Cinque Terre is a beautiful stretch of coastline in north west Italy comprising the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Each village has its own special character, from the extensive sandy beach resort of Monterosso al Mare, to the pretty harbour village of Vernazza, from the quiet rocky cliff-perched village of Corniglia, to Manarola with its iconic photo location looking back across the bay and finally Riomaggiore with its pretty harbour and pebble beach.
The view of Cinque Terre that everybody comes for. This shot taken from the cemetery wall (position 3)
All five villages lie within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the ‘Cinque Terre National Park’. From top to bottom takes just 14 minutes by local train, cutting through tunnnels within the mountainside. Alternatively there are numerous boat trips between them, but sadly no longer a complete stretch of the world-renowned ‘Cinque Terre walking trail’ which is now closed between Riomaggiore and Corniglia due to recent rockfalls. It’s still worth doing one of the two remaining legs though, with Montorosso to Vernazza being the toughest, but with a spectaularly rewarding view of the harbour as you descend down into Vernazza.
The whole area has become a Mecca for photographers, bloggers and THAT “picture postcard” view in Manarola? With inspiration from Polkadot Passport and Route Perfect Blog we went to seek out those coverted best photograph spots for ourselves. The camera I used for the images below is a Fuji X-T10, which has been recently superceded by the new Fuji X-T20 which you can read more about on Amazon.
So where are they then? Continue reading
For much of the 1990s I assumed you’ve couldn’t go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa … because you couldn’t go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa! It’s only now after a recent trip there that I realise it was just closed between 1990 and 2001 for maintenance work in an attempt to reduce its lean, which at the time was 5.5°. So now, 14 years after the works’ completion the lean is a far less “leany” 3.97° and since December 2001 tourists have once again been able to climb up it. And you can climb up it too!
Staring up to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
We visited Pisa’s Piazza del Miracoli in May while enroute to Florence so we could tackle Pisa’s tower, check out the Cathedral, and behold the beautiful Bapistry. Many friends had advised us to only spend half a day in Pisa and not stay overnight there. However due to our flight times from Luton it was easier to stay for 24 hours; the late afternoon on arrival to have a “wander around” amongst all the day-trippers, the evening to have a nice meal and savour the tower in relative peace and quiet, and then the following morning to actually climb up it.
We bought our tower tickets for €18 each from the official site at http://www.opapisa.it/en/tickets/buy/ which releases them 20 days in advance. This gave us a far better time selection throughout the day compared to sites like http://www.towerofpisa.org/tickets/ who additionally add on a cheeky €10 booking fee! Our €18 choice included entry to the Cathedral too. Continue reading