The trip has come to an end and now I need to get back to work and reality, so to speak. I can see my future in a Tuscan villa, making olive oil and running my restaurant. Some tips for anyone traveling to Italy:
•Don’t expect to do much after 12pm until 3 or 4, that’s nap and espresso time. A lot of retail spaces close during this time and some restaurants do too.
•When getting coffee, most people just stand at the bar for a couple of minutes and sip their espresso or cappuccino.
•Dinner is usually at 8pm, which is early for most Italians. After work, everyone goes out for a drink and apps at the local bars, then they go home before going back out for dinner.
•When you are finished with your meal, don’t expect a check to be dropped. You usually pay at the counter and they will let you sit at your table all night if you want to.
•If you drive, take the back roads, the autostrade is very expensive, and not as scenic.
•In Tuscany, order the house wine. They usually make it or get it from their friends who have vineyards.
•Eat lots of cured meat and Parmesan!
All in all, the trip was very successful and we wouldn’t have done much of anything differently. Not planning any of our hotels except for the first two nights gave us the freedom to go where we needed. I would not recommend this in the summer/high season though because of all the tourism, but during the fall, the hotels are nowhere near full capacity. Next time I will get a villa in Tuscany and use that as home base, so I can do more cooking with the great food that Italy has to offer.