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Trip Report We didn't love Florence the way we thought we might

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I'm not planning on doing a full on trip report, as many people have covered what's fun to do in Florence way better than I could. But I will share a few notes that we found to be true at least for our trip.

We are in our 60s, never been to Italy before but I've been to other parts of Europe, New Zealand, other places. For some reason we put off Italy for a long time I'm not sure why.

In any event we had a really short time to plan for 12 days over the Christmas New Year's holiday. We decided to focus on Florence and take a day trips from there.

The pluses:
Every meal we had was awesome. We mostly eight in small Victoria's near the lawn and garden, and every meal was just delicious. We did not have the famous Florentine steak is we're not big mediators, but handmade pasta, soups, chicken dishes were all delectable. Pastries, coffee, Panini – all wonderful.
Both hotels we stayed in were very nice. Our first was the Palazzo Magnani, A family palace with antiques from the families own collection. Amazing staff, large gorgeous rooms, very high ceilings, and an amazing breakfast each morning that usually kept us going for most of the day. The second was the Westin Florence, for which I had a free stay, which was a lovely hotel, but I'll get into some details in the con section.
The art, the buildings, the architecture – it's everything everyone says about Florence. Just walking around looking at buildings, visiting several museums, including the Ai Wei Wei exhibit which was the highlight of our trip, was a lovely experience.
The Thai massages we had were some of the best ever. Silathai rocks! We regularly get these at home and the two massages we had in Florence for some of the best.

All we ate for 10 days was Italian food. I know this sounds really stupid, and I love Italian food, which we eat at home couple of times a week, but I would've given a serious bonus for someone who could've gotten us a good Thai or Asian or other type of meal. In fact when we had our massages we smell delicious Thai food coming from the employee rooms, and we asked if there were any Thai restaurants around. They said no they always bring food from home. We should've offered them some money to make us some food!

We found Florentines – standoffish? Unfriendly? Sometimes even hostel? We've traveled all around and generally we are better Travellers then we are even at home. We often get into conversations with restaurant workers, people and cafés, people in museums – the people we come across in our travels. Not One person that we encounter, except for young person from Sicily who would been to San Francisco, responded to any of our conversation or questions or even compliments on their food or the Wiers they offered in their shops with anything but polite disinterest. And some were openly unfriendly. I don't know if that's because of who we elected president, but my guess is that Florentines are tired of tourists, especially in what may be a slow season, and just didn't have time or energy or inclination to make small talk with us. But it was very different from our other travels, and as we mostly travel between Christmas and New Year's, we were able to compare our experiences in Florence with that in Paris, south of France, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, and other places.

As the streets and sidewalks are quite narrow, we were especially careful navigating our walks especially the first few days. We were dressed relatively casually, but certainly not just jeans and T-shirts – slacks for myself and my husband, nice blouses for me and polo shirts for my spouse. And we don't walk super slow – we're not disabled – but we found anybody who was a business type - dress really well, fancy coat and hat, obviously in a hurry – felt no compunction shutting one or both of us off the sidewalk into the street.given that to mulch it was traffic – scooters, cars, bicycles – at several points one or the other of us was in grave danger of being hit by some moving vehicle. We tried everything – we walked single file, tried to anticipate people moving quickly and getting out of their way, stepped up or walking pace – and nothing seemed to work. Was one of the most hostile environments I've ever been as a pedestrian, and I'm from New York so I know busy streets!

None of this ruin your trip at all – we're glad to have been there, but probably won't go back. I'm curious if the south of Italy would be very different, but I think it'll be a while before we return.

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