21 October 2007


This weekend we travelled to Florence, Italy, again, but to meet my parents this time (last time we were there we met Andrew’s parents). Andrew and I took a different approach to Florence this time, and instead of staying in a hotel, Andrew found a flat for us to rent for the weekend. For the same price as it would have been for us to stay in a hotel, we got a small one-bedroom flat with a full living room, little kitchen, bathroom, and even a little balcony. It was a beautiful little place with huge windows that opened up to let in the fresh Florentine air.

We arrived in Florence late Thursday night (we’re talking midnight) and went straight to bed. Friday morning we slept late because Mom and Dad’s schedule had been changed so that they weren’t getting into Florence until Friday afternoon, and then they were supposed to go on an excursion with their group and then to dinner. Andrew and I bummed around Florence and shopped. I got a new pair of leather gloves and two new wool hats, one grey and one red (in preparation for the impending London winter). We also bought birthday presents for my parents.
Later that night we went to dinner at a little place that our tour book said was great, but we were a little overwhelmed at the menu, which was all in Italian. (I had given my Italian dictionary to my parents!) After getting the waitress to point out some entrees that weren’t intestines, stomach or liver, we ended up having a great meal and met some Auburn and Alabama fans who were celebrating their 50-year anniversary! After dinner, we met my parents at the Duomo and dipped into a little restaurant to share a bottle of wine with them.

For our birthdays, my parents had arranged for us to join their tour group for a day trip to Sienna, which Andrew and I had missed during our last visit to Florence. We met them at the crack of dawn at their hotel for breakfast and then piled into the bus for the drive to Sienna. The drive to Sienna (what parts of it we didn’t sleep through!) was beautiful: rows upon rows of olive trees and grapevines line the countryside for a breathtaking view of the wine country. We arrived in Sienna to freezing weather; apparently the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees overnight, and none of us had really come fully prepared for temperatures that low. We went to a cathedral and saw the skull of Saint Catherine of Sienna, which was a little creepy (we saw her thumb, too, but the rest of her is in Rome).
Then we went up to San Gimignano, an adorable little town with lots of towers. We had lunch there, and Andrew picked out and bought me a much-needed black and brown purse so that I never have to change purses again! Later we met back up with the group and went to Tenuta Torciano for a wine tasting with a crazy little man named Pierre Luigi, which was really fun.

After tasting several wines, olive oils, and such, we loaded back onto the bus and headed back to Florence.
It had been a great day in Sienna, and, Mom and Dad, we can’t thank you enough for making that day so special for us.

When we returned to Florence, Andrew and I had made dinner reservations for the six of us – my parents, their friends the Nassettas, and us – at a place called Il Latini, which was such a popular venue that they turn their phones off during peak hours. We were running late getting back from Sienna, so we were rushing to try and get there and couldn’t call to tell them we were running late. We took two taxis, and my parents and Mr. Nassetta ended up getting there first. Apparently, they told my dad and Pete that we were too late, but when Andrew and I walked in with Mrs. Nassetta and saw Mom, the waitress told my mom to follow her to our table. We think the waitress got confused as to who we were and gave us someone else’s table! We followed her, sat down, and were informed that there were no menus. They began bringing out plate after plate and course after course, everything to be passed around and shared. The food was outstanding, and the atmosphere was amazing. By the time we finished several bottles of the house wine and coffees and dessert, we were stuffed!

After such a long day, we all parted ways after dinner, but I have to say that it was so nice seeing my parents even for a single day. I’m so glad that they had such a great time, and I hope that they have as much fun next year when they come visit us in London!

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