Castello di Verrazzano

There is a winery in Tuscany called Castello di Verrazzano. I ate dinner there with my family during the week we were staying in Florence.

It’s up on a hill, with spectacular views of the surrounding area — vineyard after vineyard, with a colossal estate dotted here or there. It felt like we were stepping back in time.

And I’m no wine expert, but what we were served certainly did taste exceptional.

Palazzo Pitti & Boboli Gardens

In July 2011, my family and I spent a week in Florence, and among the places we visited was Palazzo Pitti, the one-time residence of the Medici family and other Italian royalty. Today, it houses a collection of several museums. And the Boboli Gardens behind the palace are also a very popular site to see. (Actually, more “to wander” than “to see,” as the grounds are expansive — and not well marked with signage, I might add. We only got a little lost …)

[A courtyard at Palazzo Pitti]

[A banner listing the museums]

[The ceiling of a grotto in the courtyard]

[A view from Boboli Gardens]

[Looking back at Palazzo Pitti from the gardens]

[My father took this photo while we were exploring the gardens. I love the closeup of the flower with the blurred primary colors in the background. I’m actually the red blur, my sister is the yellow blur, and my mom is the blue blur.]

[A relief on the wall of one of the buildings on the property]

[Sculpture by Igor Mitoraj]

Somewhat adjacent to the Boboli Gardens are the smaller Bardini Gardens. It was extraordinarily hot and humid the day we chose to visit the property (not the best timing perhaps), so once we discovered the latter gardens, we were pretty thrilled to find a small cafe, where we could rest a bit and enjoy some gelato.

[From the cafe, we could see Florence beyond these two statues]

[These covered pathways were gorgeous, and provided some excellent shade]

[Peering through some vines at the Duomo and Campanile]

[A better view of the Duomo and Campanile. The brown clock tower all the way to the left is Palazzo Vecchio.]

Photos by Marie Look