All of my previous trips to Italy have been in the off-season, usually April or October. I love that time of year since there are fewer tourists and the weather is nice. However, this time, the stars aligned for an August visit. We did find several restaurants in Rome closed for August vacation and it was hot during our 11-day visit. However, we still managed to eat and travel well.

Rome's Piazza Navona

Rome's Piazza Navona

Don’t forget that visiting in August means getting a hotel room with A/C and if you rent a villa or apartment make sure they have a pool, or at least A/C.

We started in Rome, staying at Navona Suites, one street away from the Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most popular piazzas. Gelato, exquisite fountains, loads of street performers, and selfie-stick salesmen. But, the location is also close to one of Rome’s best coffee roasters, Caffe Sant’ Eustachio, and an easy walk to the Campo di Fiore, lined with better restaurants (with better prices) than Piazza Navona. We loved Obicá with several types of fresh mozzarella and local organic foods.

Lunch in Rome

Roman fountain

One of the highlights of Rome was taking the Panorama Bicycle tour of Rome with Top Bike Rentals and Tours.   Visiting the hills of Rome is easy with a mountain bike, but even easier with an electric bike. We chose the electric option and were glad we did. Smooth sailing up hills!

Bike tour passing the Vatican City

Bike tour passing the Coliseum in Rome

Moving to Tuscany, we rented an apartment at the I Veroni Winery and Olive Oil farm in Pontassieve, which is along the Arno River about 10 miles west of Firenze. The location offered an easy train ride into the city with free car park, a good market, a tranquil location on a hill above town, and a good base for visiting the towns and vineyards of Tuscany.

I Veroni agriturismo

italian grapes

We visited Arezzo, Lucignano, Castellini in Chianti, and a must stop for any wine and food lover, Montalcino. We wound up our trip to Italy with the best meal of the visit at Ristorante Buca Mario (since 1886).

Here is a small portfolio of some of our visit. Coming next is Spain and Morocco.

David in the Ufizzi

Lunch in Firenze

Florence, Italy

Toscana countryside

Balsamic and olive oil