It’s hard to believe three months have passed since our Mediterranean cruise. Or that it’s taken me this long to report back on each of the stops! #badblogger I think I subconsciously drag them out so I don’t have to admit to myself the trip is over. But at the same time, creating these posts takes me back…and in the case of Lucca, I can still remember the quiet of the alleyways, feel the mist of the rain, and the taste of the homemade pasta.
Florence, Italy was the final stop on our Mediterranean cruise (after Sitges, Cartagena, Marbella, Provence, and Portofino), and since we’ve seen (and loved!) Florence (read that Trip Report here), we decided to venture out a little further in the Tuscan countryside, to the lovely town of Lucca.
Since we were fortunate enough to have a private car and driver as our guide at this port, we decided to make a quick stop in Pisa along the way. Yep…there’s the tower, and she’s leaning alright!
We quickly hopped back in the car, and our driver dropped us at the gates of peaceful Lucca a short time later. The narrow cobbled streets of Lucca’s city center are hidden behind imposing Renaissance walls, and stepping through the gates is like going back in time. Gorgeous piazzas, shady promenades, and historic cafes are easily explored by foot, as either a day trip from Florence, or in its own right.
Our guide suggested we head to a traditional Tuscan farm and vineyard for a late lunch, and I literally swooned at the idea! And maybe squealed. There’s no question a private car for day excursions is pricey (thank you, Princess Cruises for that luxury!), but it allows you to cater the day around your exact interests, and utilize your time in port to the fullest.
For instance, in Provence, we told the guide we wanted to see true Provencal life, outside the areas of tourism, and experience as many of the villages as possible. (See the recap here.) When we met our guide in Livorno (the nearest port to Florence), we asked for quaint villages, beautiful countryside, and a delicious Tuscan meal. Both guides delivered perfect days beyond anything we could have planned on our own.
We spent the afternoon feasting and exploring at Fattoria Il Poggio, a family vineyard and restaurant that makes its own wine, oils, soaps and candles. It was as magical and delicious as it sounds!
On the way back to the ship, we paused for a quick walk through the small village of Montecarlo…another spot we’d never have found on our own. In a word, the day was perfect.
The entire trip was spectacular, not just for the amazing itinerary and experiences, but for the new friendships made with my fellow bloggers. A huge thank you to Princess Cruises for inviting me on such an adventure, and to you for making it possible!! This post wraps the last of my ports of call, but we extended the trip on our own, and up next is the most breathtaking locale of them all…the Amalfi Coast!
Which was your favorite Mediterranean stop? I hope to write a packing post, but for those of you asking, you can use this post as a guide to what I packed and wore.