Ciao from Florence, Italy!
We're just over a week here in Italy, and having just a lovely time so far. Weather-wise this is the perfect time to visit, and although there are quite a few other travellers here, it's nothing like peak tourist season in Florence.
Despite many visits to Florence over the years, I have never spent more than a few days here in one go until this trip, and while it seems odd to say I didn't know what I was missing, it also feels somehow apt.
When we came up with the LiveAway concept, we were batting around the question of 'which cities / places have you visited that would be worth it to spend two weeks (or even a full month in)?, and Florence was one of the first that came to my mind.
A few days in Florence will give you a general sense of the city and Italy as a whole - the food, history, etc; it is without question the kind of place that comes 'as advertised'.
But to spend more than a few days here is to get to know the city in the particular - where the best panetterias and gelato shops are; where the 'old money' streets of the city can be found and gawked at; which galleries will be hosting shows of note, and so on.
It seems kind of obvious that more time in a place will make you feel less rushed, but somehow it isn't until you really give yourself that time that it really dawns on you how why it's worth it.
To be so far removed from moving onward creates space in the mind, a present-ism that is nearly impossible to manufacture.
It's the feeling of simply just existing, fully free of all the mundane distractions of home life and its bullet-point to-do lists that, for all their helpful organizing function, create the box of 'normal life' that becomes a cage if you don't escape it occasionally.
The extra time also allows the opportunity to indulge in a little fantasy about what your life could like in a parallel universe, living in the places you visit - Giordano Dregorio of Florence, at your service? 🙂
All in all it this experience so far has fully validated the question of whether Florence is worth an extended visit, and then begs the next one, which we polled a few weeks back - where else in Italy would be worth a longer visit?
The 'winners' of the poll were generally all places in the southern part of Italy - Campania, the region south of Naples where you'll find the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Istria, Sorrento, and Pompeii; and also Puglia, the less-visited 'heel' of Italy where you'll find places like Bari and Lecce.
The other winner was of course Sicily, which happens to be our next LiveAway to be released, and where I'll be headed to do some final reconnaissance in Syracusa for our March 2023 program there.
That trip will be happening in conjunction with our March 2023 Malta LiveAway, giving you the chance to do two weeks in each instead of a month in either, should you so desire. Lots more info on all of these trips to come, and thanks very kindly to all of you for your feedback!
And speaking of releasing LiveAways, I'm delighted to release the itinerary for our March/April 2023 New Zealand LiveAway program, which you can find below. We'll be spending two weeks on the South Island, the gateway to the Southern Alps, before moving to the Bay of Plenty on the North Island for the latter segment. (You can also see the webinar replay for the program here).
Similarly to the Malta / Sicily combination I just mentioned, we designed NZ so that you could do 2 (or 4) weeks in Bali first then 2 (or 4) weeks in NZ to make the most of the flight all the way over there. We'll also be releasing an Australia extension to follow the NZ leg for those keen for the full 'down under' experience.
I'm off for now to chase down another gelato, but do keep the feedback coming, and stay tuned for more - next week we'll be releasing the full itinerary for our May 2023 Adriatic Coast program, along with the webinar.