November has been a whirlwind of a month, but it’s felt very long because I’ve just had SO MUCH. I started the month off with a work trip to New York City, the first time I’ve been in the city since 2017. There were a lot of changes that felt like a sign of the time. Ultimately, since I was traveling on deadline days and there to have some very specific meetings related to work, I didn’t see much of the city. I did have some great soup dumplings and even better empanadas though. I flew home to attend a school district fundraising dinner, where I was given an award (unexpected) for my support and service to our students. A few days later, I had several important meetings, and I’m excited about some opportunities headed our way for students in the next year. I’ve done several webinars and I’m on a search committee, so I feel like I’ve been on zoom way too much this month. Add in the Thanksgiving holiday, and suddenly the month is going to be over.
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As I write this, I’m in our room at the Gallery Hotel in Florence. We are in Florence with my sister (also staying here) and my mom (staying across the square at the Continentale). Yesterday, we took a 4-course Tuscan cooking class with a woman that I took virtual cooking classes with when the world was closed. (You can buy her cookbook for Tuscan and Emilia Romagna recipes on Amazon!)That’s a full circle moment for sure. Our trip will wind down with a few days at wine resort near Montalcino.
We’ll be home for my birthday (unless Tom surprises me with another birthday in Florence – j/k…) and then we will head back to Europe to spend the winter holidays abroad. We’re staying in Bordeaux (new to us!) for a few days, heading back to Paris for about a week, and then the world is our oyster! I’m really looking forward to the Christmas markets in Bordeaux! We will likely end up meeting up with one of my friends in Venice for Christmas before ending the year in Florence again. We’ll start 2024 at the Rosewood Montalcino. All that to say, I suppose many things are planned, but I do need to plug in a few days and finish booking out our accommodations.
I have an ITCH for new places that needs to get scratched ASAP though. I think that needs to be priority for our 2024 travel planning.
For now, however, I’ll leave you with some photos of the Brancacci Chapel in Florence, which is presently being restored. One, look at the incredible details in these faces. Two, appreciate all the very human emotions. Present during the Renaissance and present now.
Eating and Drinking:
This has been the trip of the food tour. We took a food tour on our first day in Bologna and another food tour in Verona. As a result, we’ve had a lot more regional dishes and wines on this trip. Some of the most unexpected surprises? Amarone risotto (UNREAL), ciccioli (a very tasty salumi), and recioto (a sweet wine). I cant recommend taking food tours enough when you travel, and here are some of my favorite Black Friday deals for food tour companies we love:
- Save 20% on Eating Europe promo code EatingFriday23 until December 1
- Save 12% on Secret Food Tours promo code BLACKFRIDAY23 while supplies last
- Save 5% on Do Eat Better promo code GIULIA5
Let’s be real. This has been the trip of food. In many ways, I feel like all I’ve done is eat, which isn’t actually true because I generally try to only eat once a day. We visited some of our favorite restaurants in Florence and Bologna, found some new favorite restaurants in Verona.. and we will see what happens in Montalcino!
True story: we boarded our flight to Rome and I realized my trusty J. Brand Maria skinny jeans had worn out and finally ripped. (Sad!) Tom and I were sharing a suitcase on this trip, so I packed extra light. Losing my skinny jeans left me with my Lafayette 148 Gramercy pants (some colors on sale!) and my L’Agence Selma jeans. Both served me well for the trip, but I had to be a little more deliberate with my outfits. I will say that the Gramercy pants are AMAZING for travel (and work). I bought my first pair at full priced, and I would it again. They hold up really well on long trips.
I brought two Akris Punto tweed blazers that I bought earlier this year, a short sleeve cashmere sweater, a long sleeve cashmere sweater, and two sleeveless tops to go under the blazers. One of them the French Connection blouse that Kate Middleton wore in her official portrait, which means I’ve owned it since 2013. It’s literally one of my favorite shirts, and it’s 10 years old. Wild.
I realized when we got to Florence that I have been wearing my Stuart Weitzman 50/50 boots since 2019. They are starting to show their age. I have the knee-high suede-stretch version, and I just adore them. They are the most comfortable shoes I own. They have become impossible to find, as the new version is over the knee, and I’m not a fan of that. I’ve been considering replacing them with the Sarah Flint version, especially since all her shoes are 30% off with promo code BLACKFRIDAY.
Honestly, I tried to update a handful of blog posts as we traveling. I published a new itinerary for Bologna and added information to that. (I need to add our apartment rental!) I republished my review of Villa Cordevigo after our second stay there. And, I’ve been adding to my Verona itinerary on my Veneto post, though I still need to add our new hotel!
Looking forward, I’ll probably update a couple of my Florence posts, as there is a lot to share, though admittedly I did not take a ton of photos on this trip. I’ll also hopefully have new information to share about where to stay near Montalcino in Tuscany.