Last weekend was a pretty adventurous one for us – the quiet period in Italy is looming yet I find we have more to do than ever. Friday t-man dragged me to the cinema to watch some stupid 3D movie about vampires. I won’t bore you with the details but basically when Abe Lincoln himself is the protagonist, you pretty much know it’s not going to be a contender for the Oscars. Saturday we made plans to attend a good friends birthday at a sagra up in the mountains above Prato in a little town called Migliana. We went last year and had a blast and on plus the food is pretty fabulous anywhere in the Tuscan Mountains. Despite me missing the Calenzano exit and a 20 minute detour to the next exit (you can imagine how fun that car ride was) we ended up managing to meet them right at the appointed hour deep in the heart of “sagra-land“. The food was superb and so was the company, like us, these people loved to have fun and we all danced the night away. Including a slightly eccentric local “famous” (weird) guy from their town who wore ridiculous boots and actually believed me when I told him Chuck Norris was my uncle. Did I mention this guy was 68?
Sunday meant sleeping in, which I for one was thankful for since lemoncello was my best friend the night before, woops! We made plans to meet t-mans cousin and girlfriend for some sort of “tree experience” afternoon in the hills of Fiesole. We had no idea really what that meant so I just packed a picnic and put on some tennis shoes and we were on our way. The park itself is actually called Parco Avventura Vincigliata and they have several locations throughout Italy. Luckily for us this happened to be pretty close to our house and even with the weather topping the high 90’s, everything we did was in the woods ensuring some degree of shade. When we arrived they strapped us in some very Real World/Road Rules–looking harnesses. After a lecture from one of the employees we went ahead and tried the practice course which had us up walking along a wire in-between two trees (each tree had a small wooden platform to stand on) and then zip-lining to the ground. We then chose which course we wanted to take and three of us chose the intermediate level (7 meters above the ground) while one chose the easier one (5 meters). There is an even more difficult course but it was really short and we wanted to get our money’s worth since you pay for each “path-course” you take.
Some of the courses had us walking along shaky logs while we strapped our harnesses to the adjoining wire. We climbed across netting pretending we were spider-man, hopped along logs and zip-lined between trees. It is quite physically tiring and if you’re out of shape I would recommend taking the easier course and go from there. I would like to try the difficult one next time and while we wished the courses were a little longer; I think it was worth the money. In Italy, it’s not easy to find activities like these and this is perfect for anyone, kids, adults, spider-monkeys. Plus we got to pretend we were Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider (I wish). And really, what more could you want from a Sunday? I will say, we had a group-on deal which meant we paid half the price but normally for one adult, the fee is 18 euros to do a course and half-off any additional ones. Kids prices are around 10 euros. I recommend packing a picnic like we did. They have tables throughout the park where you can eat and they sell beverages and snacks so bring food (or wine) and make an afternoon of it. Warning- apparently tree-climbing makes you goofy – I couldn’t pry t-man from latching himself on the various apparatuses like a sloth.