Soaring above the tree tops, overlooking the farmlands, vineyards and historic towns of Italy’s Tuscany region, I took a moment to pinch myself. Travel by hot air balloon is a special experience. In our fast-paced ADD era of modernity and speed, the slow hand-powered flight was a throwback to simpler (perhaps more soulful) times. There I was, just outside Florence on an exclusive shore excursion offered by Celebrity Cruises called “The Winds of Tuscany.” I’m one of their Celebrity Global Insiders, an elite team of travel experts collaborating with Travel & Leisure Magazine. On this trip, you take off in a hot air balloon and soar high above Tuscany and take in the pastoral landscape.
Climbing into the wicker basket with the grace of a wounded ostrich, I soared thousands of feet up in the air. The early morning mist gathered around the tree tops, creating a sense of mystery and otherworldliness. Tiny people waved to us from their balconies and front yards. Dogs barked at our balloon as it levitated above ground.
Travel by hot air balloon is a romantic experience that engages the senses. A once-in-a-lifetime trip, flight by hot air balloon is a fantastic way to get a birds-eye view of this legendary Italian countryside.