And the Pizza is Great Too!
04.10.2017 - 08.10.2017 75 °F
We arrived in Florence in the morning after a nights sleep on the train. While I do sleep very well on the train I usually am up late watching out the window! We headed to our hotel and left our bags - our room would be ready about noonish. We stopped for breakfast then went for a walk re-familiarizing ourselves with the city.
One of the iconic Florence views is the Duomo, the Baptistry, & the Campanile (Bell Tower) from the 13th century
The Piazza della Signoria is the main point of origin of the Florentine Republic. It is surrounded by various palazzos including the Palazzo Vecchio which is the town hall. The square is lined with statuary including a copy of the David. The Loggia dei Lanzi contains several statues.
The copy of the David
Hercules & Cacus
Hercules and the Centaur
The Rape of the Sabine Women
Perseus with the Head of Medusa
We next walked down to the river - the Arno flows through Florence - we had a great view of the Ponte Vecchio
We headed back to our hotel and settled in, had a little nap and got ready for dinner. One of the main reasons we returned to Florence was to have pizza at a place we'd gone on our first visit - La Bussola. We started with a bottle of wine - one of my new favorites...
...which explains why there are no photos from dinner!
==Drinking Our Way Across the Rooftops of Florence==
This being our second visit we'd seen the big sights here (well this trip is really not about seeing the sights anyway) so we made our own fun! I found 5 places in Florence with rooftop bars/cafes and off we went.
Our first stop was of all places the library! They have a small cafe on the top floor with a view of the Duomo and glasses of Prosecco
Our next stop was the rooftop cafe at a department store that overlooked the Piazza della Repubblica and the Duomo. While waiting for a table we started chatting with a couple from Wisconson and invited them to join us when we were seated. On the building in the photo of the piazza it says "Pensione Pendini" - that was our hotel. It has been a lodging establishment since 1879.
Our next stop was the Westin Hotel overlooking the Arno River and peaks at the Ponte Veccio.
Our last stop was the Hotel Continentale which looks directly over the Ponte Vecchio - the oldest bridge in Florence and still lined with shops as bridges were long ago.
There was one last rooftop that we never made as we really needed food!
==A Trip to Siena==
We attempted to visit Siena years ago when we had a car in Tuscany - we however did not have a very good map! After several attempts to find a way to drive into the city center we abandoned the idea vowing to return another time. This time we took the train, then a series of escalators and travelators from the train station, through a mall, and finally to a location inside the city walls. If you just stand still it takes about 9 minutes to climb up the hill. We then engaged a taxi to take us to the center - Piazza del Campo - the huge square that is home to the Il Palio horse race.
The view from the top of the escalator
The Piazza del Campo
Always time for wine & nibbles
The Fonte Gaia - "Fountain of the World" - built in 1419 as an endpoint of the system of conduits bringing water to the city's centre
One of the many narrow winding streets in Siena
This wall is part of a planned expansion of the Siena Duoma that was never completed
The Siena Duomo - built in the 13th century
Words to live by
Tuscan countryside from the train
==Last Day in Florence==
We chilled, did laundry, and had one last pizza from La Bussola - so good. They even brought me a bowl chile oil for my pizza.
Our hotel has seen a lot of history unfold in the Piazza della Repubblica. Two walls in the lobby area area covered with photos of through the years.
From 1898 - the square was called Piazza Vittorio Emanuele then
1935 - Training of fascist troops
1938 Motorcade with Mussolini and Hitler
In the morning we leave for Sorrento & the Amalfi Coast!!!