Saturday, June 9, 2018


Florence…. We caught the Metro to Termini in Rome, walked through the underground shopping center, and took the Italo train to Florence. As soon as we exited the train station we went left up Nazionale, hooked a right on Chiara, left on Panicale and voila we were at the Red Moose. It was easy up until then. Unfortunately the gal who runs it had to finish drying the sheets… we had no way of knowing how long we’d have to wait because I never get data for my phone. A lot of people think I’m crazy, but I feel like I need a social media break when we’re out and about sight-seeing. Anyway she showed up and we got into the most adorable apartment. We even had a terrace.
Our first stop was the giant market for a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and fruit/veggies/eggs for our room. If I’m going to enjoy the pizza, bread and pasta I need the balance. Florence is officially my favorite city in Italy now. Rome is too crowded and busy. Milan is beautiful, but it’s big and expensive. 
Florence is small enough to explore the entire city on foot and in fact is mostly off limits to cars. This is why I prefer to stay on the outskirts of the city… it’s difficult to get to the city center pulling luggage.
Our second stop was Grom. Grom Is my favorite gelato. It’s organic and they use a lot of strong flavors like real coffee from Guatemala and vanilla from Madagascar. As you face the front of the Duomo look to your right and you see the ambulances. As you face the ambulances look to the left and take that tiny street to the end. Grom is on the left corner.
All of the churches are free, including the Duomo. If you go during high season, like we did this time, you will have to wait a minimum of 45 minutes to get in. You have to pay to get up the tower next to the Duomo so I recommend going to the Palazzo Vecchio museum. It’s 14E to see the mansion and also to climb the tower which is 311 feet (95m) tall. You have a great view and you can view the Duomo! Plus it wasn’t a stairwell full of stinky-sweaty tourists. The Loggia next to the palace is a must see, but I recommend seeing it very early or at dusk. Otherwise it’s too crowded to get good photos.
Instead of going to the Academia to see the gorgeous David and all the other statues (which I recommend, but was too crowded for us) we hiked up to the Piazza Michelangelo to see the giant replica of David and the panorama of Florence. A lovely church is up there and if you remember a scarf for your bare shoulders you can pop in to breath in some cool calm energy before heading back down the hill.
The acoustics in Florence are amazing. Be sure to look for all of the local musicians and singers. They’re always good and a play a variety of stuff ranging from opera to rock-n-roll. I’m not sure why but we thought it was highly entertaining to watch the ambulances navigate these groups of people standing in the ancient cobblestone streets. The people would part like the seas, the musician would continue to play, the ambulance would pass with sirens blaring, and everyone would return to their spot in the road. No biggie.
We were wandering around trying to settle on a restaurant that appealed to all three of us when this cute young Italian guy lured us in to his restaurant by handing us wine and asking us to wait a few minutes for a table to become available. We grabbed the wine and waited. He entertained us by explaining that the language of love is an international language (which he apparently spoke very well). When we left he talked Izzy into giving him a hug. Afterwards she laughed and said she couldn’t imagine hugging an American guy that she didn’t even know.
On our last evening in Florence, as we were heading back from Grom, the church bells started ringing… and ringing… for at least ten minutes. A huge crowd was gathered in front of the Duomo. As we walked up, the doors opened and a procession of priests started coming out. A giant gold canopy came next, then more priests and guys dressed in green gowns. We had no idea what it was all about. A couple of ladies asked us if we spoke English. They then handed us a camera and asked us to take their photo with the procession behind them. They were wearing their pajamas they’d come out of their rooms so quickly. It was the celebration of Corpus Christi, and that’s what was under the gold canopy.
Well, back to Roma for the final leg of our trip.

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