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Trip Report Three days in Florence May 2016

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We planned a month in Greece but since we had to fly transatlantic f we added 5 days to the trip and visited Florence for 3 nights and Venice for two.

It is a very long trip for us which took a full 24 hours of travel. We flew from Vancouver Island to Vancouver, to Montreal to Rome. We flew Air Canada Rouge.

Just an aside we paid for Premium economy which has upgraded seats, a good dinner with lots of wine). I call it Fake Business class because the seats do not fold back to horizontal but otherwise it was a good flight. There were several Americans in the Premium seats likely taking advantage of the strong US dollar versus the Canadian Dollar.

The flight arrived before noon so we took the train to Florence and found our hotel, a 4 story walk up apartment. Dante E Beatrice, it had a loft bedroom, kitchenette dining living room and a view of a domed church. 280 euros cash for three nights

I had researched the top 10 things to do in Florence and I know our apartment was close to everything but being totally jet lagged we really didn’t have a clue where anything was so we just walked toward the domed church. It turned out to be Basilica di San Lorenzo. There were lots of people walking down the street so we just followed the flow. Within a few minutes we turned a corner and we were at Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo. What luck, that is number one on the list of things to do in Florence. There were lots of people lined up to get into the Cathedral but we talked to a huckster for a tour company who told us they have a skip the line tour of the dome and Cathedral plus admission to all the other buildings in the square all for 64 euros. We noted that and promised to return the next day to take the tour.

We continued to just follow the flow of people. Within minutes we entered a large square with a statue of David and many other statues all over the square. This turned out to be the Piazza della Signoria, and Loggia de Lanzi another of the top attractions in Florence. We wandered around in a daze, marveling at the replica of Michelangelo’s Statue of David, the Fountain of Neptune, Hercules and Cacus as well as Perseus.

We felt we had enough energy to follow the crowds a bit further, wanting to get to the Arno Rive. As we arrived we found ourselves with a perfect vantage point to view the Ponte Vecchio bridge. Amazing, in less than an hour we had stumbled on 4 of the top attractions
.
We headed back to the apartment and stopped at Trattoria da Garabardi which was a landmark on the route provided by the hotel. Since we could see the windows of the apartment we figured this would be a good place for dinner. It advertised gluten free and offered all their dishes with gluten free options. We had a 4 piece combination Bruschetta plate and a lovely Fettuccine with wild boar sauce. With a liter of house wine 44 euros.

We have noted on other vacations that sometime every day one of us says something remarkably stupid or funny so this year we noted the most memorable ones.
Quote of the day
“Do I look like a witch on vacation?” Jetlagged Lolly

The next morning we simply followed our path from the previous evening. We purchased the tour of the Duomo and climbed all 400 steps up to the top. The route was a narrow spiral stairway. I thought there would be one route up to the dome and one to descend but no luck. It is a long climb but particularly cumbersome when groups from the top squeezed past us on their way down. It’s an interesting way to meet new people in a body contact sort of way. The close up view of the dome was somewhat blurry due to the deterioration of the Plexiglas but the unobstructed view from the rooftop platform was spectacular.

We chose not to walk up the bell tour but did visit the museum and the baptistery. In the afternoon we walked to the Piazza della Signoria, and Loggia de Lanzi and on to Ponte Vecchio and over the river to Palazzo Pitti then found our way back to the apartment for a little siesta.

In the early evening we walked to San Miniato al Monte for the view over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo. By now it had started to rain so we bought an umbrella from one of the annoying street vendors. Sometimes they come in handy. We returned to the square at our apartment for dinner. Restaurente il Cantastore also advertised gluten free but actually only had one item that was Gluten free. We had a shrimp Salad, and Penne with Avocado and hot tomato sauce. For desert a baked pear with ricotta with wine 45E.

Quote of the day. “ I wish you didn’t buy a pink umbrella” Stan

Third day we discovered that our hotel was right beside the Mercato Centrale and its outdoor market. We promised ourselves we would return for lunch. We just wandered around taking in the ambiance of the area then stopped at Palazzo Vecchio. At lunch we returned to Mercato Centrale and wandered around the outdoor market and then discovered the big building we had been walking around was in fact an indoor market. What a treat. It had something for everyone. Food venders, restaurants, Pizza places, vegetable stands, wine bars, meat shops, Liquor and wine stores as well as a cooking school. We must have spent 3 hours in there just wandering around sampling food and having a couple of beers and an appetizer plate for lunch.

Later we had dinner at Trattoria Za Za, again in the square at the apartment. We had an antipasti plate and risotto rice with wine 35 euros.

Quote of the day. “ Once again you have proved yourself to be technically superior.” Stan

Next morning we had to be up early to catch the train to Venice. When I got up I discovered there was no water in the apartment. Fortunately the toilet tank was still full and we had some water in the fridge so we were able to make coffee. As we left the building we passed a man carrying two 6 packs of two liter bottles of water. We later discovered that this was the day of the big sinkhole appearing near Ponte Vecchio. We thought it was our apartment that had no water but it turned out to be a great chunk of Florence was affected
.
Quote of the day. “What do you mean there is no water. How am I going to get my coffee” Lolly
“I wonder why that guy was doing with so many bottles of water.” Stan

Here are some images of our stay in Florence.

Three days in Florence https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157671594102956

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