Reed Our Italian Diary

Day One

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Arrival Day

After a looooong yet uneventful (thank you Lord) plane trip to both London and then Florence, we landed at 5:30pm, took a taxi from the Florence airport, and checked into our B&B, the Villino il Magnifico. Our accommodations were pleasant, a large bedroom with its own bath, though a bathtub with no shower. Not bad. We ate a late dinner of pasta (what else) from a neighborhood restoranti and turned in. We’re in Italy!

Day 1

Mark got up early and visited a neighborhood Caffe to get some coffee and Danish. He stood and observed customers being served at the espresso bar. Interesting… you order your coffee, stand at the bar and drink it, and then pay. They don’t want your money until you’re ready to leave. Mark loves espresso, so left 20 minutes later WIRED. He found out later that "portar via" means "to go." Good pastries!

Had a quick continental breakfast in our B&B’s Breakfast Room and hit the streets. Walked about 2 miles to the train station, looking for tourist information and more maps. Walked along the edge of the Arno River. We stumbled upon the Uffizi Museum (more on the Uffizi later), took in the Palazo (palace) Vecchio, and walked past the unique and historical Ponte (bridge) Vecchio, the only bridge the Germans left standing when retreating from Florence.

After standing in the train station and observing others, we figured out how to purchase tickets. A rail employee who spoke excellent English, explained the ticket, how to check the board for arrival times, and other details. Boy we felt helpless.

A beggar with a baby in her arms harassed us even after we gave her a few Euros. Are we just naive or is this her line of work?

Had a wonderful lunch of lasagna and pizza at a ristoranti. Mmmmmm. Much better than the Olive Garden! Walked across the Ponte Vecchio, which is lined with expensive shops, and stopped to shop at the cheaper shops on the other side of the bridge. Dora hated all the walking, but loved the shopping.

Finally made it to the opulent Palazo Pitti. Built in 1457 for aristocrat Luca Pitti, to compete with the even more opulent Medici family, it towered over us. It housed four museums and the famous Giardino Di Boboli (Boboli Gardens). When we paid the six Euro dollar entrance fee, they didn’t tell us the top of the garden was a steep ten minute climb, but our quads sure found out. When we finally made it to the top, we collapsed and rested along with the other tourists. An even higher climb yielded a beautiful vista of Florence below, a full view of the gardens, and an impressive fountain.

Our muscles screamed for a taxi, so we took one back to the B&B, caught a nap, and had a nice chicken and veal dinner at the Hotel Mediterrano, a nearby tourist hotel where, in the days ahead, we would catch our taxis.

Back to the B&B and to bed after a fun-filled day.


Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven
Day Eight | Day Nine | Day Ten | Day Eleven | Day Twelve | Day Thirteen | Day Fourteen