Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Day in Florence

Our full day trip to Florence started with a 3 hour guided tour of the main sights such as the Ponte Vecchio, passing by the Uffizi Museum, Piazza della Signoria, the amazing Duomo, the Central Market with endless food stands, and ending with the viewing of Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia. Our guide Elisa was very informative and like so many other local guides, her passion for the history of her home town comes through loud and clear as she tries to explain 1000 years of history in 2.5 hours! She appropriately gave us all a few moments in silence to admire David in all his grandeur. It was just the right amount of time and information for our group.

We all went our own way after the tour to discover our personal view of Florence. Some went shopping in the grand Straw Market, some went back to the Central Food Market and a few went to walk through the wonderful Boboli Gardens. I personally found a little trattoria on a quiet side street where I enjoyed delicious Tuscan fagioli (white beans drizzled with olive oil – simple and delicious) along with grilled vegetable calzone. Right on queue, an elderly gentleman came by my table with his old accordion to serenade me with what sounded like a polka in hopes of receiving a few coins for his efforts. But before I could respond, the waiter came out to shoo him onward protecting my tranquil setting . I will certainly return to this restaurant next time I am in Florence!

A bustling city alive with thousands of tourists, artists, and all types of business people, we were all trying to leave the city at the same time causing some major congestion. It took us about 1 hour to go 1 kilometer as we inched our way slowly to cross the Arno River trying hard to always leave only a 2 inch gap with the car in front so as not to lose your place in what could be considered a line. It’s a stretch calling this a line. Italians are not very good at lining up and following any kind of order, but it is a way of life here and it seemed no one was getting upset at the traffic – we just inched our way out of town back to our country estate of Il Borgo still buzzing with the energy of Florence.

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