5 days in Florence
Friday~Saturday~Sunday, October 13-14-15, 2017
Arrivederci Positano, Ciao Firenze
After a tearful good-bye at Le Sirenuse with Leonardo, we left for the train station in Naples, and on to Florence for the next 5 days. We’ll do a little more research on the process next time…. When we arrived at the train station, we were looking at the reader board, trying to figure out where to go. Some random guy practically ripped the tickets out of my hand to see our itinerary, and then motioned for us to follow him. He showed us where the large schedule was, and the track where our train would arrive. Mind you, we had our very heavy backpack, a carry-on sized suitcase, a large suitcase, and wine that we schlepped from Spain. This guy didn’t lift a finger, but he did get us to the right track…. Where we waited for about half an hour before our train arrived. As we were sprinting to keep up, I asked Mike if he had some money for a tip. He handed the guy 5€, but he was saying that we owed him 10€. Mike asked if he had change of a 20. He handed us our 5€ back, and took off. Rookie mistake! Later, I did a little research where we found that we could get help from a porter for 5€, which included help with our luggage. Or “check” our luggage and have the employees deliver it to the right car for a little more. Anyway, we were happy to get on the right train.
Now that we’re in Florence, we’ve been walking. A LOT! Not Camino-walking, but enough to feel it in our legs and feet at night. We started out by climbing to Piazzale Michelangelo for an amazing view of the entire city. The morning was foggy, which made the short walk nice and cool, and the crowds non-existent. The pictures look almost mystical due to the fog. We also discovered Giardino delle Rose, a wonderful rose garden on the way up the hill.
This city is beautiful, filled with art and history. We went to the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, walked all around the Duomo complex where the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (usually just referred to as the Duomo) is, as well as Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Cathedral Museum.
We also set out to find some very comfortable walking shoes (for me). What better place than Italy, right? I googled “shoe stores in Florence”, and we ended up at a shoe store that specializes in custom-made shoes. Not for women. For men. Mike’s shoes will be arriving in 5 to 6 weeks. We went to a few more places with no luck until we found a great store where I bought MY shoes. During this search we saw a lot of the city, going from Piazza Pritti to Piazza Duomo to Piazza della Repubblica and back again. Ate pizza, drank wine, disagreed about the crowds here vs in NYC…. My theory is that the streets and alleys are much narrower, and the people “stroll”, so if you want to get someplace in a hurry, it takes twice a as long. But the density of people in New York is much higher.
Michelangelo’s “David” was the highlight of our self-guided tour of the Accademia Gallery. It was the most crowded, as you would expect. I also enjoyed the Musical Instruments exhibit at the Gallery:
“One of the most precious works exhibited at the Accademia is the one-of-a-kind tenor viola made by Antonio Stradivari in 1690. The viola is built in red spruce and maple wood of exceptional quality, decorated with the Medici crest in mother of pearl, ivory and ebony inlays. The tenor viola was part of the top five instruments used by the “Medici quintet”, a unique group of five string elements exclusively built for the Grand Prince Ferdinand and dated 1690. The Viola is an outstanding masterpiece, the only one entirely conserved in its original splendor.”
We’ve crossed the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, filled with jewelry stores, several times (haven’t bought any jewelry yet), went to Mass (in English) at the Church of Santi Apostoli, and then went to The Leather School (thanks, Patty!). Scored some purses, a few wallets, and some belts. We stumbled upon Martelli’s, which is a fabulous glove store recommended by my friend Claudia. And ~ finally ~ we went for Gelato at Gelateria La Carraia. It was worth the wait!!