Tuesday, March 15, 2016


It had finally arrived! The last day of our month long European trip!  We wouldn't and couldn't go out without a bang, so we decided to do a wine tasting with the scholar, Matt, and his wife Autumn who are in Florence.  We had spent the previous weekend with Matt at the reunion, but Autumn and their two daughters had stayed home for the weekend.  We met up with Autumn and Matt in the morning while the girls were at school at this beautiful winery outside of the city. 

Before we got to the actual wine tasting, we did a tour around the property with our guide, Gino.  Let. Me. Tell. You.  Gino is the man! He's Italian and married an American and lives on the property.  He was super knowledgeable about the wine making property, the history of wine making and just about anything. 

My man Gino!

He took us down into the wine cellars and showed us around there.  I've seen plenty of wine barrels, but it always amazes me how big they actually are. These things were huge!

After our tour, we settled in with a not-so-light wine tasting.  Not only was there wine, but there was a ton of food.  Gino had us sipping wine before we ate anything and then again after we had a bite of some food to see how it really changed the taste.  Sometimes, it was like two different glasses of wine!

After sipping on wine and eating way too much Italian meat and cheese, we bid our farewells to Gino and the winery and headed into the city.  We dropped our stuff off at the Bryants', where we would be staying that night and headed out to do a little sightseeing.  I don't remember coming here on our big Russo Italian Adventure, so it was like seeing the city for the first time.  Mike had been here in 2009, but he swears it's one of his favorites, so he didn't mind coming again. 

Our first stop was obviously the Duomo.  The Bryants live within walking distance (how amazing is that?!?!?), so it only took a few minutes before we stumbled upon this beauty.

It's as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside.

By the time we were done in the church, the sun was setting a little and it was the perfect opportunity for a stroll around the city. Florence is truly breathtaking with it's old, historic feel and the Arno River flowing through it.

Unintentional model pose

We met up with the Bryants at this Italian fusion restaurant.  It had a bunch of traditional Italian pasta dishes, but also had great alternatives.  Mike went for the steak (which I helped him out with) and we had no regrets on choosing that as our last Italian meal.

After a great meal, we all headed back to the Bryants' house, put the girls to bed and ended our month long trip exchanging stories of what it's like to be on this crazy adventure we call the Olmsted Experience. 

To end our month long trip with a quote that I think is very fitting....

"There is no food without wine and no wine without food." -Gino