Greetings from Florence, the heart of Tuscany; with rolling hills, tall cypress trees and breathtaking villas. Yes, I can see why people want to retire here. Maybe not retire right in Florence though. It is crazy-busy with tourists! It’s busier than I thought it would be. You can hardly move in some places.
I arrived Tuesday afternoon and my room is a hundred percent better than “the hotel in Venice that is dead to me.” I’m staying at the Hotel Monna Lisa. They have Mona Lisa pictures all over the place, but they are more on the kitschy side. Most of them depict Mona smoking from a bong or joint. There is one where she is holding a cat. Ha ha, cheeky.
After I was settled I looked for the Leather School of Santa Croce. It’s been around for over 50 years and you can purchase their creations. I walked into the store and it smelled divine. You could just smell quality. I looked around and purchased a couple of small things (It’s not badly priced). I was about to leave, but I decided to go through the bag room again. Big mistake! I found a red calf-skin carry-on bag. It’s beautiful! It’s also lined in leather. I splurged and bought it. They put your name or initials on items you buy, so I got my initials burned on the front. I imagine having this special bag forever.
I did a little sightseeing after that; looking and walking and looking and walking. When I get home I’m going to want to sit and veg and sit and veg!
On Wednesday I started out walking to the Uffizi to get a ticket and look at their collection of masterpieces by Botticelli, da Vinci and Michelangelo. Once I got there I was shocked at how long the line was. It was at least a two hour wait or more. I don’t really have the time of patience to wait that long. I only have two full days in Florence, the rest is touring the countryside. Drat!
I went to Boboli gardens at Pitti Palace instead. It was beautiful and quiet. A nice change from the squares of Florence and Venice. I loved it! The garden is quite large and very high up, giving you nice views of the city.
After the gardens I met up with my Chianti wine tour bus. We went to a 900 year old winery called Castello del Trebbio. It was originally owned by the Pazzi family who tried to kill the Medici family. As you can tell, we got some history with our wine tour.
The wine was fantastic! I sat with an older man from Michigan, and two couples from Sweden. We had a great conversation over our wine and tapas.
When we got back I ventured to a restaurant that was recommended as one of the best places to get pizza. It was ok. I’ve had better in Winnipeg. I should have had the pasta. It looked better. I shared a table with two German women that were in Florence to learn Italian. Hmm, sound familiar? I wonder if they read “Eat, Love, Pray?”
I topped off my day by going to Vivoli, the famous Gelato place. So yummy. Not as good as Berthillon in Paris, but right up there.