Megan and I hung out in the inside common areas. The gardens were way too hot. I took advantage of the free wifi and caught up a bit with home. Keith and Alex stayed in the air conditioned room. Oh, we had a loft quad room and my parents had a double room. And once again, we kept thinking how amazing this hotel find was - it was so hard to believe that these gardens and tranquility were tucked behind one of those giant doors in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Florence!
After our little bit of down time we were ready to go. So when I said Megan was ready for “fun”, it was time for our Pizza and Gelato making class!
Before our trip, we had looked for something hands on for the kids. In the past our vacations have always been more of the “fun” type – you know, beach type, active type. Sure this is active, but in a walking, listening, educational, history type of vacation. They were looking for something to actually DO with their hands. So to speak. That’s what was so nice about the cruise – there was always something to come back to on the ship – the rock wall, pools or ice skating. We found a cooking class in Florence where we’d get to make our own pizza’s and there would be some homemade Gelato as well! This sounded great! Hands on and dinner too!
We had about a 20 minute walk to our meeting place so we set out, map in hand and hoped we could find our way back to where Christina had pointed out the general area earlier in the day. Feeling pretty confident, I led the way and what do you know, we turned the corner and whoo hoo – there was the offices of Florencetown Tours! We made it! Right on time too! We waited for the whole class to show up and then found out we had another 15 minute walk to “the school”! Oh boy – what a day of walking! I’m not sure why we couldn’t have just met at the cooking location, but I guess we got to see a bit more of Florence this way!
When we arrived at the cooking school location, we each got an apron and picked a spot at the huge table. The class was pretty big, maybe 20 people? There were couples, families, adults and kids. It was definitely a mixed group and you could tell right away it was going to be FUN! Perfect! There were two Chefs. They did a great job with instructions, that were both educational and humorous at the same time.
We learned the correct way to make dough for the pizza – first by a demonstration and then we each had our own pile of ingredients and we got to make our individual dough balls. It was a lot of fun.
Grandpop is hoping that his dough rises - right now it's looking a bit smaller than the rest!
While the dough was rising, the chef made the gelato with help from some of the people in the class. He explained the process as he went along. The whole thing seemed really simple!
By the time the gelato was in the maker, it was time to roll out our dough.
We were shown how to roll out a perfect circle, making it the right thickness and we topped them. We had all kinds of fresh toppings. Mozzarella, pepperoni (which they call spicy salami), fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, crushed red peppers, olive oil. We had to make our pizza unique somehow so we could identify it once it came out of the oven!
Alex's finished product! Ready to eat!
Homemade pizza and wine! Really, could we have had anything better at that moment?
After pizza, we got to eat the gelato that was made. There was vanilla and chocolate.
And they handed out certificates, some of the group actually went and gave acceptance speeches! Alex being one since he did such an amazing job with his pizza! We also received recipe books. The chefs had great personalities. It was a really great evening and such a great way to relax after our super intense day of travel and touring! We all really loved it!
Alex giving his acceptance speech! He's a nut!
We walked back to the hotel after our pizza tour. And as we were walking back, knowing that we’d be leaving Florence I was thinking about how so many people had told me how much they loved Florence. I didn’t really get that feeling here. Maybe it was because we weren’t here for long? We were definitely here longer than had we just come for a stop on a cruise day, but maybe not long enough to really appreciate what Florence has to offer. Maybe the heat had something to do with it. I definitely appreciate the amazing art that Florence has to offer! And I know we missed so much of it. Florence definitely has been put on my list of cities to return to though. I feel that we’ve only touched the surface here and there is much more to see. I feel like we got a great overview and we had a wonderful day with a terrific guide. But now it was time to begin the next part of our adventures!
We went back to our hotel and packed up. Tomorrow we travel again!