Firenze Recap

Three days and two nights in Florence went by pretty fast and I couldn’t begin to tell you everything that transpired, but here’s a synopsis of our time there…


On the train to Florence

Maria Betta and I took the train from Lucca to Firenze and I was sure glad to have her help figuring that out. Sounds easy enough, but for someone who can get lost inside a walled city – on foot – with a map – in the daytime – I have the potential of going a LONG way out of my way on the wrong train! So after going to Florence and back with a companion, I have a much better idea of how to navigate the trains.

From the train station we took a taxi to our hotel and I really felt like I had landed in the Big City. By comparison, Lucca is quite a small town. So the hustle and bustle and even more manic traffic through the narrow streets is quite a rush.

The sheer number of historic buildings covered with figures and cherubs and carvings and gilt is actually overwhelming. The feeling of culture in the air is palpable.

ImageSince MB had been to Firenze before, she planned our walk to the Piazza Signoria so that I would not just stumble right onto Michelangelos’s David first thing. Instead we came upon the Neptune fountain and then “discovered” the beautiful David (“Dah-veed”) in his setting among the other statues and the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi. And I’m sure you read my earlier post about how it felt to finally see him. Absolute bliss.

ImageMB did the same thing with the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, otherwise known as the Duomo. It was stunning to come around the corner and see the massive building of pink and green and white marble – it literally stops you in your tracks. And then you look up and see that amazing dome that is an ingenious achievement in any century.

ImageOn the inside, the fresco under the dome is an incredible depiction of figures symbolically on earth and in heaven and hell. It took years of painting by many Florentine masters to complete.

And once you’ve toured that much of Firenze’s treasures, it is time to visit another “dome” – which is how they mound the gelato in the cases in this city…

ImageWe LOVED the gelato here – it was so fine and creamy that we stood on the street and hummed in delight as we ate it.

ImageThen it was on to the bridge known as Ponte Vecchio. It took us a while to get there as we got just a bit turned around and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. But we did and it was something to see. There’s no car traffic on the bridge. It is packed with people and both sides are completely lined with upscale jewelry shops. It is literally dripping with precious stones and metal. (As always, please click on any photo on the blog to enlarge.)

ImageBy the time we got to the other side of the bridge I was in pain from the walking so we looked for a cafe. We had to go on for another block, which I was resisting doing because all I could think was that would be another block to walk back. But we were soon in a cafe and got a glass of wine and MB doled me out some advil. I sat and rubbed my feet and thought about just lying flat out on the ground. But after a while I mellowed out and we started back. It was getting dark and the view from the bridge was fantastic.

MB promised we would get a taxi to go to dinner and we did. The ride TO the restaurant was the usual crazy. The drivers are so used to the small space and the people walking so near that they go full speed ahead and brake as needed. We just bounced around the back seat and tried not to look.

But then, after dinner and a bottle of wine, we took another taxi back to the hotel. This time we got an out and out race car driver. Immediately we could not stay upright in the back seat and we kept falling back and forth onto each other. I was wide-eyed but MB had the giggles and started shouting “go Mario!” Well, that tickled Mr. Driver and he obliged. Next thing I knew I was laying in MB’s lap and she was laughing hysterically and speaking more Italian than usual. At least I think it was Italian. The driver seemed to be answering her in Italian as well.

By the time we got to the hotel and I propped myself back up, MB was saying “let’s go again!” “No!” I intervened. “But it’s Mario!” she exclaimed. Driver flashed her a big grin. I looked at the meter and our fare was a full 2 euros less than the same trip earlier. I paid the guy and gestured that I was going to kiss the ground. He laughed and sped away.

I swear, the streets here should be littered with bodies and I can’t imagine why they’re not!

Anyway, we spent another two days roaming Florence with periodic wine and advil breaks for me. We saw a lifetime’s worth of designer shops, art and architecture. We enjoyed good food and wine. And MB did make it to the very top of Boboli Gardens. Check out this view. I’m so glad Mary Beth was here for the big city visit. I’d like to go to Rome at some point but I’m almost afraid to without her!

And of course when your companion is an Italian Barbie doll, the service we get is amazing. All she has to do is say “boungiorno” and turn on her smile and people rush to take care of us. On the last morning when we were checking out of the hotel, a very handsome Italian man came up to the counter. When he saw MB, he said “if all American women looked like this I would have to move to your country!” She smiled and said “grazie” but he continued to say she looked like a female version of David by Michelangelo. Now how’s that for a compliment!

Ahhh, Firenze. A beautiful time in a beautiful city.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Billy D
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 08:03:42

    Nice recap, and the pictures are great!


  2. Vicky Gerber
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 09:14:06

    The kids are really enjoying your trip. They want to know if you are going to Ireland next!


    • thesketchylife
      Oct 20, 2012 @ 11:17:36

      They are too cute! Tell them when I get home from Italy I am going to stay in Ohio for a while. But if I ever get the chance to go to Ireland I will!


  3. Paula
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 13:19:48

    Oh that oo was hilarious. Shared it with Heather and we had to lol at you being lost in a walled city….. I could see you laying down laughing in MB’s lap. You can’t have that driving exp. here…..without a ticket and time in the slammer! Amazing how wine and advil make everything better!!! And if you go to Ireland, I AM going with you lass!! Love and stuff!!!!


  4. Paula
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 13:22:11

    Oh forgot. Glad I enlarged the pics of fine jewelry. At first I thought the the small pic was pastries in a case!


  5. Ellyn
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 15:22:36

    Isn’t that something — going on vacation while on vacation. That was a great wrap up. 🙂


  6. Vicky Gerber
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 16:30:05

    Holy Moley! I assumed that was pastries in the case too! So…I started enlarging everthing…and found it really funny that the gelato flavors were also listed in English.


    • Paula
      Oct 20, 2012 @ 22:31:08

      I should not have enlarged on the gelato to see them in english. They looked so yummy, now I’m hungry and my cupboards are bare!


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