Well, I finally found an internet cafe that works well! We arrived in Florence without much but a few airsick travelers on Monday at about noon. Three cabs to the Hotel Pendini, a favorite of mine on the Piazza della Repubblica, and we, like the good travelers we are, ditched our bags in the room and walked to a bus stop near Santa Croce to board the #13 bus up to Piazale Michelangelo. Beautiful views of Florence, and of course the amazing church at San Mineoto al Monte, where we arrived just in time to hear the monks chanting their evening Mass.
We lost four of our group at the bus stop to extreme jet lag, but all rejoined me yesterday morning for a private walking tour of Florence, a delicious lunch at Antinori Cantinetta, and a late afternoon appointment at the Uffizi Gallery, where in addition to all the very old paintings, we stumbled on a special exhibit called Il Mente di Leonardo. Wonderful display of the incredible documention for how Leonardo’s mind worked in all directions, all the time.
I bought another Leonardo journal (I filled the last one in March) and a biography of the great man. We tried out a little Tuscan restaurant just a block behind the Duomo, a place our walking tour guide told us about, and it was delicious. Best of all, when we told the waiter that Sylvia (our guide) sent us, the owner came over and serenaded us in his booming voice! While most of the group headed back to the hotel after dinner, at about 9:45, three of us were NOT at all sleepy, so we wandered all over, the piazzas, crossed the Arno at the Ponte Vecchio, walked past the Pitti Palace, into the Oltrarno district, past Ashley’s old school, back over another bridge, up and down the little brick and cobble streets until past midnight before we came back to the hotel to try to settle down.
I got to bed at 4:00 a.m., got up a couple hours later, because we had a reservation for 9:45 this morning at the Galleria d’Accademia, which houses the magnificent statue of David. I sat for a long time looking up at him, and writing in my journal. Then a quick visit to the Medici Chapel for me, while most of the group lingered there. Pat, Carol and I found a particular gelato shop especially wanted to visit, we bought some gorgonzola picante, toma piemonte, and pecorino, crackers, green bean frittata, marinated whole artichoke hearts and some other goodies, plus of course a bottle of wine, and wandered over to the Piazza Santa Croce, found a stone bench, and basked in the sun, the glory of delicious food and friendship.
Later, a visit to Santa Croce itself, and now I’m here, just about to quit this computer stuff and find a little paper shop where the owner makes journals and other delightful paper products.
Tonight we have our last dinner in Firenze and the infamous Il Latine (some of you will remember THAT) where the food just keeps coming until it seems impossible to put more plates on the table.
Tomorrow we will get our cars and head up north of Siena to a lovely agriturismo called Tenute Corsignano (you can google it and check it out), where we’ll spend our first of two nights in the Siena area. Saturday we head to our villa for a week.
I’ll write again soon. Ciao!