Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 12 - The Beautiful City of Florence ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I am writing this in the evening after our day in Florence and all I can say is “my feet are aching!” I think we must have walked 20 the the city...with a trillion people. But Florence is such an amazing place. We drove into Florence which was stressful, as there are traffic limited zones where it seems your car is photographed and if you mistakenly go back and forth - in and out of these zones, you will get tickets in the mail – pretty heavy fines I understand. This is where our dear “Higgins” just didn’t get it... so he was always recalculating! Calling Higgins bad names did not help! We finally settled in at the parking lot at the Porta Romana. It ended up costing us 10 euros for the day which we thought was good.

We took the Renaissance walk from Rick Steve's book and began by crossing the magnificent Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge that was  spared Hitlers bombing. In 1966, when a massive flood wiped out the shops on the bridge, the bridge itself was strong enough to withstand the roaring waters.

The bridge crosses the widest point of the Arno river and embodies the progress of humanity because it has come from carrying soldiers to battle, to open commerce, to a vast gathering place for peoples from all walks of life.
After crossing the bridge we stopped to admire it from the other side...
And now a coffee..Dan and his morning pastry...who am I to argue? Here we experienced the additional charge for doesn’t matter if you are outside or inside – obviously when you are occupying a seat, you take longer and therefore the charge.  The idea is - drink up and move on!

So we stood and had a coffee and pastry then continued our walk. The line up at the Uffuzi and the Academia and were very was the line to go up to the top of the Duomo.  We decided to try the Academia reservation line again for reservations on luck.We will try again later...

 We wandered through the market where you could purchase shawls for 5 Euros and leather goods of all kinds.

We were warned about the quality of leather though, so resisted buying. We sat and people watched at the Piazza Santa Maria then wandered the streets admiring the architecture, sculptures, street performers and local art.

Florence is filled with art – not only in its museums but on its streets and buildings- you only need to keep your eyes open and you will discover it.

Dan went back to the Duomo to take some  pictures with the afternoon light  (and I of course shopped :)) then we walked...hiked...back to the car...we were boiling and tired....

Because we had reservations at the Holiday Inn for Saturday night, the night before we were leaving to return to Canada, we drove over to the hotel to see where it was and ask them if they could reserve the Academia for us for Saturday...YESSSSSSS....we have a reservation for 11:45am !!!!!  I am finally going to see the real David...ok maybe not THE REAL David, but the real Michelangelo’s David!

There is also a photo exposition taking place at the Academia that we were interested in seeing - Robert Maplethorpe.

After the Holiday Inn, we made a stop at the COOP in Florence – this is a GIGANTIC grocery store – with a wine section the size of most of our wine stores back home.

After walking out of the store the wrong way and setting off the alarm (quite embarrassing) I was happy to be going back home to La Foresta. Oh yes, one more stop to ask Wilma, who owns “Pasta Fresca!” in the town of la Tavernelle, if she would consider giving me a pasta lesson on Friday.

When I introduced myself  (Penny- friend of Lucia from La Foresta) she hugged and kissed me and told me to be there at 10:30 Friday morning. After leaving Wilma's place,  they were closing off the street and having some sort of celebration so  Dan was being told to move out by the off we went...home finally for dinner and toasted (with our new rosé “Albia” from Barone Ricasoli) to my cooking class with Zolia tomorrow in Umbria, where Dan will join us for the lunch  I will learn to prepare, then on to Asissi. I have now got to put my feet up...ahhhhhh...more Rosé please....

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