Our trip to Florence and Chianti was somewhat of a love and hate one. We hated the rain and cold that prevented us from leisurely strolling along but loved the excuse that it gave us to picnic in the car with the best view in town. We hated that the vineyards and landscapes were bare and looked nothing like what you imagine Tuscany to be but loved that it was off-season and we had the roads, villages, and hotel to ourselves. We hated coming up against locked gates to wineries because of the Easter holiday but loved happening upon the traditional Caparsa home where the owner, Paolo, invited us in without any hesitation (we didn't want the bourgeois wineries anyway). And really, we loved much more than hated. The sun came out to say arrivederci on our last day and everything looked and felt different. En route to Florence it kept us warm as we spontaneously stopped at a flea market in Greve In Chianti. No vintage treasures for the shop were found but the enjoyment of being around locals greeting each other and catching up on the week's events was more satisfying than bringing home a piece to polish off. Once in Florence we had just a few hours before departure and lucky for us, the historic center of the city is tiny. We had plenty of time to stand in awe in front of il Duomo, drink coffee in la Piazza della Repubblica, and veer into side-streets where local signage and store-fronts kept us thoroughly entertained. My only regret was not being able to shop for shoes (ladies, you understand) but drool-worthy footwear and a lush harvest season just might be enough to make us go crawling back for more.