Can you tell that I have been having the best time in Florence? Even with being in school most of the day, I have been able to pack in so many things…and it just doesn’t seem to stop! In fact, this past Monday after class I hustled myself back over to the Walkabout Florence meeting point for a Vintage Vespa Tour. (After having such an amazing time at their cooking class last week, I couldn’t resist taking another tour with them.)
So basically, here was how the first 30 minutes went:
Me: (beaming with excitement)
Angel (our tour guide): “Have you driven a Vespa before?”
Me: “I ride a bike at home…” (insert nervous laughter here)
Angel: with an unconvinced look on his face, “okaayyyyy…”
Post Vespa test-run:
Angel: “You got it girl! You’re great!”
Me: (I think I sucked a little, but thank God I passed.)
Angel, giving us the full rundown on how to drive a Vespa
In all honestly, Angel was super thorough about how to drive a Vespa, and the safety; he really covered everything and made all of us feel really comfortable and confident. Plus, he assured us that he wouldn’t let us drive if we weren’t comfortable (a.k.a. good enough at driving).
my Vespa for the day
And so off we went. An adorable troupe of colorful Vespas following a bright green vintage Fiat 500 being driven by Angel. I got assigned to a dreamy orange Vespa, and I couldn’t have been more excited.
all lined up and ready to go
Within 5 minutes of starting our tour, my face was plastered with a smile and I just couldn’t fight it. Without a doubt, no exaggeration, this was the most amazing thing that I have ever done. It was truly the adventure of a lifetime. (And I can’t wait to do it again!)
We followed Angel out of Florence and along the winding Tuscan roads – I felt nothing short of Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday,“ except that I was Katie, driving through Tuscany…but anyways, you get the idea. It was sunny, the wind was blowing and the air was perfumed with jasmine blossoms. The countryside put on a beautiful display, and to be honest, it felt like I was dreaming. This is exactly why people come to Italy and never want to leave.
After a good chunk of driving, we pulled over and parked our Vespas so that Angel could talk to us about the countryside, the wine, the olive oil, the history, the people – everything that makes Tuscany so special. (As if I needed any more reasons to fall in love with Italy.)
our incredible view
Towards the end of his talk, Angel said, “so are you all ready to get back on your Vespas?” I was literally so excited that I turned toward my bike and grabbed my helmet to put it…and then I realized it was more of a rhetorical question and no one else had moved an inch. Luckily everyone got a good chuckle out of my excitement.
But when we were ready to go, I just as eagerly popped my helmet back on and we were on our way. I just kept thinking to myself, “this is so amazing…this is the coolest thing ever…I’ve got to do this again…we’ve got to get a Vespa.” It might sound corny, but there was something so freeing about feeling the wind in my hair and my face, and kind of feeling like I was just floating through the countryside. Let’s say this, if you have never taken a Vespa tour in Tuscany, do it. #lifechanging
We continued along those beautiful Tuscan roads – some paved, some just tiny pebbles, and some old historic stones. We went through so many adorable little hilltop towns where groups of families or friends would smile and wave at us as we drove by. Even as I write this, I feel like it almost sounds like I am making this up. It’s too good to be true, right? Wrong. This is truly la bella vita.
I’m not really sure how long we drove for, but it must have been a couple of hours; and to all of our enjoyment our next stop was at the beautiful Walkabout estate for what they described as “a tasting of typical food and wine.” But I knew better. I figured that this tasting was going to be more like dinner; and I was spot on. Chianti, pasta al pomodoro and an antipasti platter to die for.
cured meats, artichokes, olives, cheese, bruschetta and a vegetable frittata
After all of the food was finished and coffee enjoyed, it was time for us to be on our way. Angel led us the long way back into Florence, taking us by all of the major monuments. Because the sun was setting, everything was absolutely lit up and truly breathtaking. (Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures to share since it was all hands on deck with the Vespa, but trust me, it was beautiful.)
As we rounded the final corner to end the tour, I sighed a big sigh as I was a little (okay, a lot) reluctant to return my Vespa. It was truly the tour of a lifetime, and an experience that I will never forget. Oh, and that smile? It has never left my face.