Starting Oct 5, we two senior couples, Ron and Sue, and Arline and I, went on a two week Elderhostel tour of Northern Italy, including Venice, Padua, Ferrara, and Mantua, passing through some smaller towns. At the end, we went to Florence by ourselves for three nights. This is a report of the Florence part. All money is in Euros.
We decided to take the train from Mantua to Florence, rather than drive or have a car and driver which was very expensive. We got reserved first class tickets the day beforehand at the station, which was good, as we wanted to be sure, altough there were seats available when we got on. Also, we felt that the first class was worth the money, (21 vs 12), since we had comfortable seats and we were carrying 2 pieces of luggage each.
The train left Mantua at noon, 20 minutes late, stopping for a train change in Bologna. We almost missed the change, as we were given the wrong info on which track we should wait. I learned that sometimes you get the wrong info either by difficulty in translating the Italian, or just plain ignorance. The ride was very comfortable and quick, with the train going up and down the mountains with seeming ease.
We got to Florence at 2:30 PM, waited on the taxi line which went quickly. The taxis were mostly hatchback, in which were able to put our suitcases with 2 small pieces on our laps. In about ten minutes, we were at our apartment on Via Dell'Oriuolo, just a few hundred feet from the Duomo. The fare was 8 1/2, and we gave him a ten.
Because of previous good experience, we decided to stay at a 2 BR, 2 bath apt, rather than a hotel. After considerable time researching on the net the likely prospects, I finally chose the apt GIOTTO, at VDO 19. It had a large living room with 3 sofas, a small kitchen and dining area. The master BR had bath ensuite, and the second BR had two twin beds with bath next to it. There was a loft with two beds, which we did not use, and a washer and dryer which we did. It was slightly cheaper than two hotel rooms, and much more comfortable. It was on the third floor, with elevator, and a good view of half of the Duomo. We rented it through windowsonitaly.com, and the people there were responsive by email and phone, and spoke English well. It turned out to be an excellent choice, because of location, convenience, room, noise, etc.
More to come.....
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