Italy: Florence (Cooking Class and Renting a Motorcycle)

DSC_0680

I want to thank each and every one of you that liked my status, commented on it, sent me a private message, or a FB message about yesterday’s post.  That post seriously came out of left field- I wrote it wearing pajamas without any coffee pumping through my veins and I am completely SHOCKED at the incredible response it has generated.  So thank you.  And it’s comforting to know that everyone goes through these troubles, in one form or another.  Check out all of the amazing comments on the Facebook post.  Thank you, again.

And now back to the billion Italy posts I have queued…


Everyday in Italy was awesome and different, but in my opinion, this day in Florence was top 3!  Maybe even top 2.  As soon as we started making plans for Italy, I knew I wanted to take a cooking class.DSC_0719

“A cooking class in the hills of Tuscany!”, I thought.  But do a Google search of that and it produces wishy-washy results, so we narrowed it down (and by we, I mean I) to Florence and after hemming and hawwing over a bunch of classes that are either way too expensive (hey $300 for the day) or too many people (class of 25+), we decided on Cook, Eat, Italian.

DSC_0785

The classes are in the teacher’s home (her name is Manuela) and they are small group (max 6 people).  Manuela has been doing the classes long enough (over 5 years) to know how to keep it moving, but also let you do a lot of the work.  Plus, she has a really fun personality and adds so many personal touches.  AND she has an amazing kitchen with a view.  *Heart eyes emojis*

DSC_0696DSC_0721DSC_0684

It isn’t cheap, but if you like cooking and learning new recipes, it’s 100% worth it.  I really wanted Luis to join me, so he agreed to come.  I chose the general cooking class (as opposed to pasta, or pizza, etc).DSC_0709  

We learned so many new things and while the class felt long at times (and we were hungry), I thought it was such a great experience!

DSC_0718 DSC_0687 DSC_0729 DSC_0712 DSC_0735 DSC_0748 DSC_0734

DSC_0693  

We met 3 other couples and I loved talking to them and hearing about their experiences/ plans.ita18

We made…

BruschettaDSC_0759

Fresh spaghetti with tomato sauce and Bolognese sauceDSC_0765

Meatballs

DSC_0771

Fried zucchini flowersDSC_0760DSC_0741

Sauteed peppersDSC_0774

Fresh fruit tiramisuDSC_0781

Manuela sends all of the recipes, so there was no need to write anything down.  We could just enjoy the class and have fun!

ita17

And we learned so many things, like how to make tomato sauce that ISN’T watery, or how to make bruschetta the right way (and how to pronounce it).  We learned the secret to moist meatballs (don’t use store-bought bread crumbs), and the recipe for a light, fresh summer version of tiramisu.ita19

Luis may not agree, but I thought the class was great and he was a good sport for coming.  From there, the day only got better…and more dangerous 🙂  We wandered around a bit…DSC_0819 DSC_0817 DSC_0799 DSC_0804

And then! this happened!DSC_0821

We rented a scooter for the afternoon with Alinari rental.   ita21

It’s been my lifelong Lizzie McGuire dream to ride a scooter in Italy!  I have lived a happy life.ita20

Luis did most of the driving, since he had a scooter when he was younger.DSC_0835

We drove up the mountain and there was a huge parking lot where I could practice a little bit.DSC_0824 DSC_0854

My emotions went from pure joy to pure fear, as seen in these photos:DSC_0861 DSC_0866DSC_0859 DSC_0863

I really should have used knee, elbow, and wrist pads,  And probably complete body armor.  But the views were absolutely incredible.  Without the scooter, we never would have seen this little hidden gem.DSC_0873 DSC_0888 DSC_0913

hey helmet hair!  We drove the scooter back down the mountain, parked it for a minute and stopped to see The Great Synagogue of Florence, which was huge and incredibly impressive in it’s size and beauty.DSC_0931

Afterwards, we returned the scooter and made a quick stop at the Mercato Centrale, where we shared a pizza.  All that livin’ on the edge works up an appetite, ya know.DSC_0947 DSC_0939

Lizzie McGuire would approve of this day.

DSC_0675

You may also like