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  • gloria139

Florence Day Two … Up close with the Renaissance

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

Cyn and I parted ways early on the second day of our excellent Italian adventure.

She went to a four-hour class to learn how to make fresh pasta, I took a walking tour of the major sites of Florence.

I love fresh pasta more than I love most people, but I am happy to have someone else cook it for me - maybe Cyn, now that she knows what she is doing!

We first walked together to the other side of the Arno River, grabbing a coffee and nutella croissant at what we are calling the Pussy Piazza down the street from our AirBNB. I have to say I have been disappointed by Italian coffee to this point. I had expected great things but, so far, it has been lukewarm and kind of bland .. maybe I have been unlucky.

Along the way to downtown Florence we spotted the police car you will see in the photo attached. Boys and their toys!

Anyhoo, we split up and I found my way to the Duomo,

A friend recommended that I climb the bell tower but my knees took one look and said no no no.

Instead, started listening to a free walking tour of the city, narrated by Rick Steves (I am a total Rick Steves fan girl) which I had downloaded the night before. It is a bit simplistic, but it lasts about an hour, is super easy to follow, and tells you much of what you would want to know about Florence. I highly recommend it.

Rick told me about the Duomo, the Bapistry, the long pedestrian street leading to the river, the Piazzo Vecchio, the Ufuzzi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, and a lot of sites in between:

Then I walked back to the outdoor restaurant where I had agreed to meet Cyn and had a margarita pizza and a glass of Chianti. The pizza was nothing special but it was lovely having the chance to people watch for an hour, just sipping wine and enjoying the weather.

Cyn, meanwhile, was falling in love with her pasta instructor, a chef from a local restaurant who was totally handsome in addition to being able to make ravioli without watching his hands. She arrived at the restaurant with lots of stories about pasta and a few about Chef McDreamy.

We then went on a very long walk to the central train station, getting lots thanks to Google maps. Mr: Google has continuously been confused by directions in this city.

We caught a hop-on-hop-off bus tour at the station and went around Florence twice, stopping at the spot closest to the restaurant where we planned to have dinner. The hop-on tour is a very touristy thing to do, but it does give you a chance to see a lot of a city in a short span of time.

And, given that my Fitbit was saying I had logged 18,000 steps, I was glad to sit and watch the town go by,

We stopped for aperitifs in a sidewalk cafe - negroni for me and Aperol spritz for Cyn - and ended up having a great chat with an Israeli couple from Los Angeles who are in Florence to learn Italian.

Then we went to dinner at Antico Ristoro di Cambi, a restaurant recommended by Chef McDreamy. We had reservations for 6 pm (because we are still a little jet lagged) and were the only ones in the place for most of our stay. Cyn had beef Florentine (which is normally a huge cut of meat but she talked them down to a small size) and I had rigatoni, which was unremarkable. She says the beef was delicious. But we also ordered Chicken liver pate on toast. It was serve warm and a bit sloppy and was, um … well .. let’s Just call it unappetizing.

We strolled back to the AirBNB and stopped at the Pussy Piazzo for gelato. What a wonderful place it is at night with people walking around, sipping drinks from one of the adjacent restaurants. It was a festival-like atmosphere and a great way to end the day … before the four-flight climb back to our AirBNB.

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