The Beauty of Off-Season Italy!
Who says you have only one season a year to pack up your family and/or friends and take a cultural excursion to Italy? Not the folks at Tuscan Travel Group! In fact, two of my most memorable trips were in off-season Italy in January 1985 (Florence Snow 1985) and November 2014.
My Time in Florence
The first was when I lived in Florence with my family for six months and watched the snow fall silently onto the desolate streets and cover the Arno. The water and ice along the river lacked movement and was covered in white crystal flakes and gave the city a blanket that masked its usual flow. It was as if Florence stood still, if even for a brief moment in time. I know this is not the image conjured in one’s mind when they think of Florence, but it was a serene and awesome photo taken in my own mind that lives on longer and more precious than those I snap with my cell phone in a moment of time.
This is a memory that reminds me that my imagination and historical snapshots live longer than the moment I take away from beauty and serenity to stop, reach for my cell phone and break away from the experience to take a photograph. Something to think about next time…
The Magic of Florence
My second experience of off-season Italy was when I took my daughter with me on a work trip to Florence and we stayed in a quaint hotel situated on the Arno at the cross of the Ponte Vecchio. We arrived in the middle of the night and opened our hotel window to see the motion of the river and the stillness of Florence. It was perfectly silent, dark and took on an almost mysterious quality. We were deliriously tired, but the brisk air smelled of winter and warmth at the same time. Another mystery. You can tell by the smile on my daughter’s face that she, too, was caught in the magic of Florence as it sleeps.
Visit Italy in Fall, Spring, and Winter
Most of my memories, and there is a plethora, are of turning sideways to get through the streets, mini versions of cars screaming past me, scooters zigging and zagging every which direction and people studying maps, now Google Maps, to find their way through this maze of a city. I must admit, I love this liveliness as well, but for different reasons. The romance of the city and all of its history is something I will always love. Also, I love the idea that all of the tourists there will learn and grow their life experiences. It feels like I know the secret they don’t yet know…that this city will stay with them forever and more or less change their life.
With each return, I fall in love all over again. Seeing it in all seasons, which I have been fortunate to experience, is a gift. One that I encourage you to give yourself. Veer off the steady and usual path and see it all over again or for the first time. Do it in the Fall, Spring, and Winter. Need another reason?…the rates are lower, everywhere you go…even our villa rental rates!
Read more about all these beautiful places here.