Last week I was in Italy, in Tuscany to be precise for a conference and a short holiday. Here are some pictures I wanted to share with you.
Day 1: With three colleagues I flew to Pisa. We arrived quite late, but still had time for a quick stroll around the city and ofcourse to see the famous leaning tower!
Day 2: We drove to the conference site, some 1 hour from Pisa. On the way we stopped to visit in the small town of Barga where we got our first taste of 'climbing' (very unusual for us Dutchies!). In the afternoon, the conference started.
Day 3-7: The conference, to be exact the Gordon Research Conference on Antimicrobial Peptides was really good! I listened a lot, talked a lot and met many interesting scientists from all over the world.
The conference hotel was great. Even though it wás work, it felt like holiday with all the meals you could just sit down to and the beautiful surroundings. Above you see the view from the hotel on Barga.
I'm not much of a swimmer, but I did sit near this pool quite a lot, just to enjoy the view!
In the afternoons, we had a few hours free time. Some trips were organized, such as this visit to a cheese factory where we could see ricotta and pecorino being made and ofcourse taste them.
We also spend an hour in the small town of Castelnuovo. I really like these small Italian towns with their narrow streets, little squares and old buildings.
Day 8: The conference finished, but I stayed for the weekend in Italy with a colleague and her husband. On Friday we visited Lucca, really a beautiful town. Not very well known, but I would recommend it to everyone visiting Tuscany. One of the most impressive buildings was this 13th century San Michele. The Romanesque facade has columns which are all different.
I love viewing cities from above, so I climbed one of the medieval towers in Lucca to see... some more medieval towers, lol!
Day 9: The place we were staying for the weekend was again in lovely surroundings, more agricultural this time. So many olive trees!
We visited a large citrus fruit nursery, where they had many many species of lemons, oranges, grapefruits etc.
The area around our B&B was great for walking.
Day 10: From our B&B we hiked up the hill to the small village of Cozille. Phew, it was quite an effort, but worth it for the great views!
In the afternoon, we visited the gardens of Villa Reale. It was quite lovely, but the buildings were so dilapitated which made me sort of sad. Probably there are too many monumental buildings in Italy to maintain them all?
This is the B&B where we were staying, I Sette Borghi, a converted farm. It was really nice!
Day 11: Our last day in Italy, but as we flew in the afternoon, we had still some time to view Pisa a little more.
This is the interior of the Duomo, the cathedral.
Next to the Duomo is the Camposanto, the 13th century cemetery.
The walls of the cloister are covered with frescoes. Despite their age and the building being damagd by WWII bombs, they are still really impressive.
Outside of the 'Square of Miracles' where the leaning tower, the Duomo and the Camposanto are located, I wasn't too impressed by Pisa itself. It just didn't have that much atmosphere, you know?
I really liked this first time to Tuscany and would love to return and see more!