Our port today was Livorno, Italy which is about a 2 hour drive away from Florence. Thus, 'Florence' was the real destination for all our shipmates. However, given our experience in Rome yesterday, Alan and I decided to venture out on our own to be away from all the 'must see' touristy spots. We decided that we would discover Tuscany on our own!
When we got off the ship, we were prepared to book a taxi by ourselves today. Instead, we were greeted by rental car companies Hertz and Avis! A-ha! How fun would it be to rent a car and explore on our own? Then we would have FULL freedom to do as we please, on our own time! What a perfect plan!
We made absolutely sure we were to get a GPS with the rental car, and then off we went in our cute little convertible.
Our first stop was the historic town of Pisa, where we witnessed the famous Leaning Tower.
We then took a beautiful scenic drive in the countryside, and we couldn't help but stop several times to take in the extraordinary panoramic views.
Our second stop was the charming town of San Gimignano, a town that fits the picture perfect description of Tuscany. We roamed through small shops that had handmade leather goods and crafts by local designers and artists. We eventually settled down at a casual outdoor cafe for lunch, and we couldn't help remarking to one another how relaxed we felt today compared to yesterday in Rome.
As much as we wanted to stay in San Gimignano forever, we had to get going. Our next and final stop for the day was Siena, about an hour drive south. We did not mind the drive at all, because each road was so incredibly scenic and we just loved being in the countryside!
In Siena, we spent some time at Piazza del Campo and Town Hall before grabbing our very last gelato in Italy and heading back to the cruise ship.
Sure, we probably would have enjoyed Florence quite a bit too, but we wouldn't have traded our Tuscany drive and experience for anything.