After yesterday’s initial trip into Tuscany, we wanted to see a bit more of the beautiful countryside in our short time here rather than taking a train up to Venice for a daytrip. After breakfast we arranged to meet up with a driver who would take us on a half-day trip to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower, and then to Livorno, to see the Mediterranean Sea and to see a part of the city called “Little Venice,” since we wouldn’t end up seeing the real thing.
First we had the same driver as we’ve had the last couple days, a guy in his 40s-50s named Dmitri who spoke some English and always tried to change up our itinerary. This morning we left at 9:30am and he recommended that instead of seeing Livorno that we should go see Lucca, and have lunch at some restaurant in Pisa. With him there was another driver, a woman named Tania, who recommended a little seafood restaurant along the sea cliffs and rocks just outside Livorno. Feeling doormatted by Dmitri, I spoke up in Italian to the female driver about how we wanted to go to Pisa first and maybe a light coffee, but that we wanted to see the Mediterranean Sea and have lunch along the coast in Livorno with a beautiful seaside vista. He eventually backed down and said that we’d go to Pisa then Livorno, not Lucca. Tania would be our driver once we were outside the city, since he had an appointment. Once Tania took over the car, it took a few tries to get the transmission to get into gear, even though it was automatic transmission.
An hour later we arrived at Pisa, a cute little town that became more and more touristy the closer we got to the center of town. Eventually Tania pulled over the car to a place where we could see the top of the tower from behind a few buildings and trees. My parents and got out of the car and walked to the tower plaza and took photos every few steps to get a new and different vantage point for talking both selfies and video. We did of course try to take the obligatory photo pretending to hold up the leaning end of the tower. A photo one of my parents took of me trying to hold up the leaning tower just looks like I’m trying to do a weird dance, but the one I took of my father “holding up” the Leaning Tower of Pisa looks a bit more convincing.
We walked around but it was so very, very hot and humid that we decided to take some time and get a coffee or cappuccino nearby under one of the tented patios. My parents ordered Cokes and I got a cappuccino and we all shared a light lemon cream cake. Even though we were in the shade and drinking cold drinks (except me being stupid by drinking hot espresso), it was still uncommonly and unbearably hot. By around the time we finished our beverages it was about time to go and meet our driver, and then on to the seaside lunch spot in Livorno, followed by exploring the city central plaza, the Terrazza Moscana.
Livorno is about a half-hour drive by car until we were close to the restaurant where we had a 1:30pm lunch reservation. We drove around a little bit until we finally found the restaurant, which was right along the side of a cliff looking out onto the Mediterranean Sea. The color of the water right next to the rocks was the most perfect shade of turquoise-into-blue that I’ve seen in the natural world. The rest of the sea, from the distance, looked a bit blue-er, a sparkling blue from our vantage point. There were even people camps on the rocky ledges and others who were swimming.
The restaurant had a good selection of fish, but their fish wasn’t what I was there for (because seafood doesn’t really agree with me): I was there for the views . I ordered a white wine and a crostini as an appetizer and they got something small pasta as a meal instead of as a first course, or “primo piatto.” They brought out the pasta and the crostini at the same time as their meals, so I thought that this was my meal by accident. I traded some of my fish to dad and he gave me some of his pasta. Then they brought out my actual meal of the beef I had ordered, but I didn’t need it anymore, and then the waitress looked as confused as we did when she brought it out. I suppose that something got lost in translation, as the waitress did not seem to speak English and my Italian wasn’t proficient enough to mitigate the confused order. While we were eating lunch we were getting bitten often by the insects and it was still very hot, so as soon as we finished eating and paid the bill, we opted to return directly to the hotel in Florence instead of going to downtown Livorno as originally planned. I will just have to try to check out Livorno on my own the next chance I can return to Italy. It was nice to at least be able to see the sea!
After we got back to the hotel, my parents and I walked around Florence for a couple hours, and then we all went to the restaurant on the lower level just to get some afternoon coffee and shared dessert, and then the two of them turned in early for the night. Before we left Florence, there was one last friend’s recommendation for a restaurant that we wanted to see for skyroof dining with supposedly beautiful views of Florence.
So I made reservations for just myself at this local rooftop restaurant by the name of Sesto on Arno an hour later at 830pm. Between now and then I washed some laundry and took a short nap. After getting all ready, I called a taxi and arrived on time for my reservation, took the elevator to the 6th floor and was immediately drawn in by the views of the hills, the River Arno, and the city nearby. During dinner, the sunset started its transition, so I got up several times to walk to the rail to take better photos than I could take from my table on the interior of the restaurant, excusing myself as waitstaff kept rushing by me with plates and drinks.
The views of the sunset were definitely worth the trip up to the top. The food was also quite good. They brought a starter of a glass of Prosecco to go with the varied breads and olive oil, followed by a small flat cylinder of something gelatinous that I’m still not entirely sure what it was, but I think the intent was to be a palate cleanser for the next course. The gelatin-thing wasn’t gross, just curious. The main course was a plate of several spinach and ricotta balls with a drizzle of light wine sauce, they were very tasty. For dessert I was brought a plate with what appeared to be a large chocolate globe and several smaller lighter-brown spheres.
When I used the spoon to crack the large chocolate globe it turned out to be a chocolate-and-hazelnuts mousse, with the small spheres being a coffee mascarpone mousse. It was quite delicious! To accompany dessert I had a small hot chocolate, since I had not yet had the amazingly delicious version of Italian hot chocolate yet this trip, and I was not disappointed. When the waiter brought my bill, it was accompanied by an adorable little tray of petit fours! I tried just a small bit of each, paid my bill, and left the restaurant to return to my hotel, where I completed my evening of “treat yoself” with a bubble bath and a good night’s sleep.