“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal: Italy 2013 – Florence

On Tuesday it was off to Florence by train, leaving Arezzo at 9:52 am and arriving in Florence an hour later. Parking was a bit of a challenge but we finally found a lot that allowed overnight parking. And it was only 20 euro for us to park until 6:00 pm Wednesday!  Such a deal! We watched more beautiful Tuscan scenery from the train (and an occasional not so pretty spot to make us appreciate the beauty).  The train was very clean and right on time.

Kaley on the train to Florence

Florence was nice, though I did not fall in love with it. We got into Florence right on time and walked about a mile to our B&B, right in the heart of the historical district and very close to everything we wanted to see, a fantastic location. The accommodations were not as good as the location, kind of like a youth hostel, but clean and only for one night, so non molto importante

Everywhere you turn in Florence, there is art – in the piazzas, on the buildings, and just in the streets. It really is quite amazing. Most buildings, including homes, have a medallion of some sort on the exterior, whether it is a religious statue, a bust, or maybe even an animal figure. And as you walk along the streets you pass open doorways that look into shops where craftsmen are producing exquisite furniture, leather goods, metalwork, all as it has been done for centuries.

                 

            Fresco in the Piazza della Signora                   Craftsman’s shop at Ponte Vecchio

We had wonderful food in Florence, as we have everywhere we have been in Italy. I really don’t think Italy has any bad restaurants!  Great news for us!  We drink the house wine everywhere and it always has been at least good and usually very good. So nice to have wine with both lunch and dinner–and after!  I could get used to this in a hurry!

Mike and Arn in a cafe at the Ponte Vecchio

We went to the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze on our first afternoon, where we saw Michelangelo’s David.  It’s much larger than I thought it would be. And his hands are really large–very much out of proportion to the rest of the body. There were a great many works of art in the Accademia, all of which were very interesting, but what I enjoyed most was the gallery of musical instruments. They had very old pianos, violins, cellos, and even a couple of hurdy-gurdy machines, which I had never seen before and had barely heard of. Very neat!

We went to the market which is open 364 days a year from 8:30 am until 7:00 pm. The only day they close is January 1st. There must have been about 200 stalls, mostly leather jackets, wallets, shoes, and purses.  The goods were beautiful and I lusted after a short red leather bomber jacket, but I live in Florida and I already have 3 leather jackets, so I resisted the temptation to buy it.  

We visited the Basilica di Santa Maria dei Fiore and it is so huge that I couldn’t get it all in one picture! It dominates Florence’s skyline. The exterior is pink, white, and green marble and just a mass of bric-a-brac – amazing. The interior is rather plain compared to the exterior, but still impressive. Pictures don’t capture its beauty – you have to go there. 

 

Dome of the Basilica Santa Maria del Fiore

Mostly we walked along the streets of Florence, visiting the Ponte Vecchio and the Piazza del Duomo, and so many other interesting buildings, stores, and other points of interest. It was a really nice couple of days, then back to Arezzo on Wednesday. 

Thursday was a designated “chill” day, but Arn and I could not resist going into Sansepolcro, a small town about 30 minutes from our villa. As usual, it was a beautiful drive there and the town itself had some really nice-looking shops. It was rainy so we didn’t get out and explore, but we probably will next Tuesday, which is their market day. We were told that they have fresh fish from the Adriatic Sea at their market and that it is fantastic!  So we plan to try it out then. 

Even though the weather was very damp and overcast and it rained a little, Mike, Kaley, and Torrey went hiking for a while (there are some great trails at the villa).  Arn and I worked on our photos and blogs, and Alisa relaxed. It was a nice, quiet day. Later that evening, we lit the drinking lamp (as we always do) and after a few drinks (or maybe more than a few) decided to use some of the pizza yeast that was mistaken for butter) to make homemade pizzas. Alisa and Mike had made pizzas from scratch before but I never had. And I probably won’t again as mine didn’t turn out so great. The crust was too thick and doughy and I just decided I would be better off buying my pizza. But the wine was great!

Ciao for now!