We’re walking, we’re walking……
Before I go further, a few photos have been added from the past couple of days.
What a great day! We didn’t trip over ourselves to get out the door in the morning, but we had a great breakfast of omelettes, courtesy of Cheryl. From the apartment, a walking tour of Florence begins by taking Borgo Pinti, where the apartment is, to Via dell Oriuolo, the street that leads to D’Uomo (the Dome). Half way down Borgo Pinti, a small brass sign on a building caught my eye: Foto Firenza, which I thought might be a photography club, although there was no other indication of that.
We began our day of touring Florence with a walk to Ponte Vecchio, about 20 minutes. Despite it being October, there are still a lot of tourists here. There are shops all the way across the bridge, many of them jewellery shops, so it seems that every tourist in Florence was on the bridge, when we were there!
Bonnie found the perfect charm to represent our trip: a charm of the map of Italy. We continued our wanderings & before we knew it, it was time for lunch. C & C had a spot in mind, Trattoria Borgo Antico, in the Piazza Santo Spirito. Lunch was a combination of pizza & salad, all very good.
We came back across the Ponte Vecchio to the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore/D’Uomo. The doors to the cathedral were open, so in we went. I’ve never been overly impressed with the opulence of cathedrals, but this one isn’t overdone with gold, etc., so it was quite impressive. The dome itself is very impressive in that it was built without any type of scaffolding. Charlie told us about a local university professor, who has given his architectural engineering students the challenge of duplicating the dome, but they haven’t been able to figure out how it was done, so their attempt is apparently ready to fall apart.
While doing some research before we came here, I had decided that I would climb either to the top of the dome or Giotto’s Campanile (Giotto’s Bell Tower) adjacent to the dome. Once outside the cathedral, I decided to take on the bell tower for 2 reasons: then I’d get good shots of the dome & it’s a shorter walk. The other 3 headed back to the condo & in I went. The price is reasonable: €10. There are 414 steps to the top! It’s a narrow stair well, much of it spiralling up, with people going up & coming down, so it was quite tight most of the way up. There are 3 open areas on the way up, where you can stop for a rest or take photos out the windows. There is wire grid over the windows large enough to put a camera lens through. Once at the top, there is a walkway all the way around for a 360 degree view. It was a bright sunny day, so it was a great view….well worth the climb. After lots of shots of the dome & the city, I made my way down. Total time up & down: 40 minutes. Not bad for an old guy!
I walked all the way around the dome & got some good shots (I hope) from many angles. Hopefully, there will be at least 1 worth keeping. I stopped for gelato on the way back to the condo, got a few more shots here & there, but my climbing wasn’t done…..it’s 80 steps from the entry to the condo building to the condo itself! Of course, the other 3 were thoroughly enjoying their relaxation on the terrace (top of the condo) with wine, beer, cheese, crackers & grapes. I finished the bottle of water in the fridge. Boy, have I been tempted with the wine! Cheap & good!!
Our walking for the day wasn’t over. Not far down the street, we stopped at Trattoria Accadia, which is rated 254 out of over 2,039 restaurants in Florence, so damn close to being in the top 10. The owner told us that we could have the table for an hour, because reservations were filling up the place. We managed to be there over 2 hours to enjoy our great meal: spicy stew, veal, calamari & steak. The house wine came out of the ‘wine box’ (photo coming).
After dinner, we continued winding our way through the streets, stopping at a pastry shop for some after dinner sweets. Remember the photo club sign? The door was open for a meeting, so I went in. They had photos posted on the wall, so I introduced myself & had a look. They were preparing one of their members to made a presentation on a recent trip to Chine. I met him, but the language barrier made it difficult to have a conversation. We were invited to stay for the presentation, but we declined. The club is fairly new & small, with only 25 members.
By this time we were pretty much done for the day, so we headed back to the condo. It wasn’t long before the lights were out, not only the ones in the ceiling.
There’s one other thing we want to say about the Florence stay so far: not only are Charlie & Cheryl wonderful people, they are also the best hosts & tour guides. They’ve made this such a great experience so far & we’re really looking forward to the villa. For those of you who know them, you’re not surprised. For those of you who haven’t met them yet, it’ll be a treat for you, when you do.
Looking forward to another fun day tomorrow.