“I want to wake up in Italy tomorrow’. My Uni flatmate sighed despairingly as we both looked out the window to our dull and grey apartment in Portsmouth on this cold October night. “Why not?” I replied. And so it began, our joint aim to be in Italy, sipping an Aperol Spritz within 24 hours. University can wait. Here’s my Tuscany on a budget tale.
A Year In the Making
This crazy idea may have seemed spontaneous and sudden to a blind eye, however in fact it had been over a year in the making. Me and my good friend Harry had been planning a trip to Italy for years but after what seemed to be a lifetime of setbacks, it never got round to being completed.
We had travelled this year, making our first trip to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands with our other friends, but our beloved Italy had fallen out of our grasp.
A Travel Bargain!
£16 return to Pisa.
Surely my eyes were deceiving me. Someone above had blessed me deeply as staring back at me on my screen was a £16 flight and return from Stansted to Pisa leaving tomorrow night. Me and Harry looked at each other. This was a massive risk, but we shook hands and made the deal. Italy tomorrow night!
And so as tomorrow’s sun rose, our trip back to London began. A hectic journey from Portsmouth to Stansted saw us arrive with only 30 minutes until the boarding gates closed, and then 3 hour delays. Somehow another miracle had happened and they left the gates open slightly longer. Me and my friend sprinted in. We had made it.
Pisa At Night
As we soared into the European night sky, all our stresses faded away. A 2 hour flight to Pisa saw us arrive around 10:30pm and we headed straight into the centre. The Saturday night of a University town like Pisa was amazing to see. All the tourists had headed home weeks ago and there I was, in the Piazza surrounded by 200 Italian teens on their night out. Using my Italian to create conversations was even better. However after a few drinks, it must’ve sounded more like mumbles in gibberish.
Forte Dei Marmi
Our first full day of Italy saw us leave Pisa and return to the very high class, Forte Dei Marmi, with shops like Fendi, Gucci and Off white around every corner. Although quieter, coming to Italy in the off peak period was not only cheaper but so much more of an authentic holiday with few tourists left and mostly residents sitting out in the piazza enjoying their beautifully cooked Pizzas.
Once we had explored the town thoroughly, we randomly decided to look at the rooftop and pool which on the website had said it was closed for the autumn and winter months. However to our shock, the whole rooftop was open with the most beautiful view of Forte Dei Marmi and not a single soul in sight.
Our Final day saw us take a trip to Florence, somewhere I’ve always wanted to see. We took the train from Pisa Centrale to Firenze Santa Maria Novella Stazione. Playing cards casually on the train, we were interrupted by 3 young Italian girls who had heard our accents and asked where were heading.
In a strange turn of events, they asked if they could join us for our trip and show us around Italy. Who is saying no to that? As the sun shone on this beautiful city, we saw more and more historic monuments. Ponte Vecchio, the Basilica; it was a town of utter beauty. Of course we had to try the very famous sandwich bar, as recommended to us by our new tour guides, All’antico.
As we strolled home, watching the sunset on our last night, we reminisced of the adventures we’d been on. We stumbled up to our hotel, limoncello in hand and sat on the balcony playing 70’s soul music; what a trip!