My friends and I decided we wanted to get out of the city for a weekend and head over to Abetone, a ski town about two and half hours from Florence. We found some great rates on a little chalet for 9 people in the town Faidello which is minutes away from Abetone. The transportation was super cheap too! We took a 3.70 euro train to Pistoia and then a 4.30 euro bus to Abetone. Little did we know, we took the wrong bus. The bus that was supposed to go to our chalet was not running due to the bad weather. The one girl in our group who is great at speaking Italian got motion sickness so it was hard for us to communicate with the bus driver to ask where we were going.
When we got to our destination at the Abetone bus stop, luckily, there was a bar we could go to in order to figure out how we could possibly get to our chalet. The snow was falling hard and to our surprise the bar called Lupo Bianco turned out to be really nice and the staff was very friendly. We ordered cappuccinos while two of the girls worked on calling a taxi for 9. The staff gave us some small sandwiches and things to munch on while we waited. We finally found a taxi willing to take us through the snow storm but it was going to be a half hour so naturally, we got drinks. We then realized that Claudio, the man who we were renting the chalet from, was in the same bar. He was extremely nice and helped all of us with our bags and met us at the chalet when we finally arrived.
We walked into the cutest and coziest snow-covered chalet and immediately started building a fire in the fireplace. We didn’t come prepared with food and only had pasta for the first night. Before Claudio left he told us he would bring us to the grocery store the next morning. We had a great night filled with wine, games and tending to the fire. The next morning we woke up and realized that the weather was too bad to go skiing. My friend Dave and I decided to bundle up and explore outside to search for a cafe. After walking in the wrong direction for a while, we realized there was a great cafe right near our chalet. The cafe called K2 was another great experience. The staff gave us delicious heart-shaped cookies with our cappuccinos and we talked with them as much as we could with our little knowledge of Italian. When we got back, the groceries had been bought and brunch was being prepared while we enjoyed some mimosas by the fire.
Since we couldn’t go skiing we decided to put on 20 layers of clothing to potentially walk to Abetone. The walk turned into a massive snowball fight and we found a ski slope on the way that we could check rates for Sunday. Skiing in this town is so inexpensive! Compared to skiing on the east coast of the US, the rates in Abetone for lift tickets and rentals are at least half!
We got back and cooked our chicken over the fire (just because we could), listened to music and played cards. Since we were in control of the thermostat in our chalet and none of us are in control of the heating at our apartments in Florence, we stupidly decided to turn it up really high so we could finally fall asleep in the warmth. It turned out to be a terrible idea considering the air is much dryer in the mountains. All of us were boiling in our sleep and woke up with dry, sore throats.
The next day we couldn’t go skiing because the visibility was still bad and to be honest, we were all enjoying the coziness of the chalet a bit too much. Everyone decided to walk up to the K2 cafe while I stayed by the fire to drink tea and ease my throat. As I was relaxing I came up with some important things that can make or break a ski trip in Italy.
1. Research exactly where you are staying, how far it is from the nearest bus stop, and exactly which bus will take you to that stop.
2. Prepare your meals for the weekend before you get to your destination. I don’t know what we would have done if Claudio wasn’t such a nice person to take us to the store.
3. Just because you are finally in control of the heat, don’t turn it up really high or else everyone will get sick or have a bad nights sleep!
4. Be aware of the weather conditions before you go, especially if you’re dying to go skiing. The weather can affect all types of transportation and the decision to go skiing.
5. Bigger groups are key! It’s a lot less stressful if things don’t go as planned. It’s also a lot less expensive if the group is splitting the cost of a chalet or hotel.
6. Make sure someone in your group can speak Italian decently. We wouldn’t have been able to communicate with Claudio, the taxi driver, or the staff at Lupo Bianco without our friend Amanda.
7. Go with good people and fun friends so that you can enjoy staying indoors if you don’t get to go skiing. You will be able to embrace your trip outside of the big city to relax, have fun times, fire, good food, and drinks.
Caze Vacanze Borgo Faidello