Imagine you awake and your bags have already been picked up, you wander down and have your last breakfast in Venice, although you are sad that you are leaving this amazing city you know that you are going to experience another Italian classic, the city of Florence. We board a train for a short ride to the Tuscan town of Florence. We get step off the train and you can immediately feel the difference, the laid-back quiet town of Venice is gone and you hear traffic and horns honk and feel the hustle and bustle of the city. There is a short walk to our hotel. Garibaldi Blu, in Santa Maria Novella piazza. Where there are musician playing in the square. We are greeted warmly by the hotel staff. The hotel was wonderful, you walk into the lobby where Palm trees stand and, in the back, a small little bar with an amazing bartender. We are shown to our room where our luggage is brought to us. I never realized that extra step of portage makes everything so easy. It is definitely the way to travel in Europe. We meet the group for a short leisurely tour of the area and of course an Aperitivo. Bert and I chose not to dine with the group and enjoyed the evening, strolling through the city, we walked to a nearby restaurant and had a lovely dinner. Then visited with the bartender while he introduced us to some valuable wine information.
The next morning, we awoke had a great breakfast and joined the group for a day sightseeing. We met our local guide and followed him through the streets of Florence. We visited the magnificent architecture of the Duomo and learned much about the formidable Medici family. We also went into the Galleria Dell Accademia, to see the breathtaking “David”. It was so amazing, pictures could not do it justice. We visited a couple different Piazzas where you really experience the heart of Florence. The leather works there was incredible, you can see the pride in each by the craftmanship and heart put into it.
After the morning of touring a few of us went to the Uffizi gallery. The numerous paintings and collection of ancient statuary was so impressive. We spent 3 hours in the amazing building and still didn’t see everything. You really need an entire day to experience every room in this very large building. I would also suggest that you purchase your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines.
After leaving the Uffizi we strolled into the Piazza, sat at an outdoor café and had a wonderful pizza and wine, as we reminisced about what we were blessed to see, take in the atmosphere and enjoy the sights and sounds of Florence.
The evening was magical as we met back up with the group and walked over the Ponte Vecchio, again the sights, sounds and smells of Florence were everywhere. People were singing, shopping and of course taking numerous selfies. We were headed to Piazzale Michelangelo, where we overlooked the entire city, we enjoy a cocktail some appetizers and a musician playing while the sun went down over this spectacular town. I am sure this is not a regular stop for most tourists, but this hidden gem made visiting this town even more memorable. As we walked back to town we left the group to find a little restaurant and a friend had suggested just over the bridge, but away from the tourists, Ristorante Santa Felicita, was a local spot with good food, great wine and you could tell by the friendliness of the staff a neighborhood favorite. After dinner we leisurely walked back to the hotel as we anticipated another great day in Tuscany tomorrow.