On Saturday morning, we journeyed to Florence for a one night stay. We decided to drive this time (and if you have been keeping updated with my blogs you know why). It was a beautiful two hour drive through the mountains, actually the Alpinini, or foothills of the Italian alps. Instead of going over the mountains, there were tunnels that went through the mountains, which was Vance’s favorite part.
Once we made it into Florence, we did some winding on the small pedestrian oriented roads to get to our hotel in the middle of the downtown center. We dropped our bags at the hotel and went around the corner to Osteria di Giovanni for what would become the best meal we had ever had. Fried salted dough (a yummy starter served with many meals here), porcini mushroom and truffle salad, Florentine steak, garlic spinach, fried zucchini flowers, roasted potatoes, a Noble wine from Tuscany, and some yummy orange zest biscotti. It was amazing and left us feeling very certain that Florence is the best city on the planet. One of my favorite things about Italy is that in many of the restaurants, they bring a starter to you free of charge that has been specially prepared, and sometimes even invented, by the chef that day. It is such a fun and unexpected way to start a meal.
After lunch we had the kids nap in the stroller and baby carrier while we ventured to the famous Duomo. It was spectacular. I am so glad the kids were asleep because we were able to go inside and they are very strict about silence. You are also not allowed to show your shoulders or legs inside. I can’t even write about the Duomo or the interior of this amazing cathedral because it was so breathtaking. We went back to the Duomo later after Vance woke from his nap to show it to him. He actually was really interested in it, especially in the golden doors that depicted soldiers fighting.
We ventured to the Palazzo Vecchio where many Michelangelo sculptures stand. The scale was awe inspiring. Michelangelo’s David had a replica there, and it was completely insane to see how big these works of art were. Vance was mostly interested in seeing David’s butt. Toddlers. However, once he started walking around amongst the sculptures, he became very interested in them and in knowing why certain ones were holding swords and others were sitting on top of another person. His first art appreciation lesson in Italy!
Afterwards, we walked all the way down to Santa Croce. This is the church where both Galileo and Michelangelo are buried and we were able to see their tombs as well as a few of Donatello’s works. Rafael and Leonardo were in the sewers getting their pizza but they promised to be up later to check it out as well. Boom boom cha.
We went to the Piazza of the Republic to eat some gelato, people watch, and get Vance on the merry-go-round. After that, we just walked, shopped, walked some more, ate dinner, and walked back to the hotel. We managed to get to the hotel just in time to catch a one woman show going on in the square. Vance enjoyed watching her and eating some macaroons. I think we had a pretty successful day. I love Florence. It is a great city to tour and so incredibly wonderful to see the place where the Renaissance was BORN. We took too many pictures but I chose the best ones for your viewing pleasure.
I will post some more pictures and a Florence Part II soon!