I have all these posts about my 2010 trip to Greece and Italy that I never posted. This one is about Florence.
Florence is my friend's favorite destination as she's been here before and she know this place quite well. We arrived in the rain late at night by car from Frosinone, further south, and we managed to find a small hotel in a huge old Florentine building near the river. The hotel owner, a lovely guy, told us to park the hire car on the Ponte Amerigo Vespucci, one of bridges over the Arno River. Parking in Italy was a night mare as people park by touch and we were very worried every time if any damage had been caused to our rental car. Anyway, we were fine without any drama and we got some excellent recommendations from hotel owners for food and the best way to reach the famous spots. We had a great meal at a small restaurant called Il Contadino in which the chef comes to tell the menu, which is different every night. We each ordered different dishes in each course so that we could try every thing on the menu that night!!!! It was one our best meals in Italy, and very much thanks to local knowledge.
The next day, we started our day by walking up toward the Ponte De Vecchio, one of the most famous bridges in the world, where gorgeous jewelery is sold. We stopped at the shop just over the bridge on the left hand side for ice cream :) which was my idea, of course. Who else would want ice-cream at 9am?
We split up then, with one of us heading to the museum and the other two to the Duomo, an incredible church in one of the squares in Florence. We walked up to the top of the Duomo to see the whole of Florence view. It was breathtaking. It's a quite a few steps up tothe top but it's really worth it. It was a great experience but not so good if you are claustrophobic or a bit unfit or overweight as the passages are very narrow.
We walked to the area near the Uffizi Gallery, which has a square with some amazing statues, including a copy of the famous Statue of David. There was a Japanese couple celebrating their wedding with an Italian priest, something which is quite popular for Japanese tourists, who spend a fortune on it.
We had lunch inside the main market and I had the best squid ever. We couldn't ask any questions to the owner about the recipe as she couldn't speak English. We need to learn Italian if we come back and can't blame anyone but ourselves. After lunch, we walked to the leather market which is something Florence is famous for. There are thousands of leather products hanging and they are real, not made in China :) Also there were lots of African men trying to sell fake stuff even though there are signs around the market to warn against it. I treated myself to a small bag to put my belongings in and it will always remind me of Florence. I wouldn't say my bag was expensive nor my friends' bags and jackest but I found out in the end, when we returned to Vietnam that our stuff was much cheaper than in Vietnam and we are assured of the quality.
Florence is a magical city but that's it for now.
To be continued
Labels: Florence, Italy, Travel Abroad