We have had such a lovely day, walking around the hills in Florence and through the city centre. We have walked miles and it has been stunning.
Good morning little green lizard.
We are staying at Villa Tolomei. It is a hotel situated to the South of Florence. It is quiet and peaceful here which is wonderful in many ways but the drawback is that it is a long walk or taxi ride to go anywhere. We have walked in to Florence twice and it takes about 40 minutes to Ponte Vecchio. Today though we took a different road as we were going to the Boboli gardens. This little shrine was along the side of one of the roads. A lot of the road is one way and has very few cars coming along its cobbled surface. We walked next to gigantic villas. I am not sure what this gate is called but it has huge wooden doors in the central part. We got to the Boboli gardens and walked through from one end to the other. There are some pretty parts. Many interesting sculptures.
Some splendid views of the Palazzo Pritti and over Florence. But generally he gardens are hugely disappointing compared to anything I have seen in England. There are very few flowers or ornamental shrubs and even the grassy areas are very unkempt. But it was a good walk, albeit a very hilly one. We exited Boboli next to Forte Belvedere. And walked along to Piazzale Michaelangelo. Olives ! The walk to Boboli was very downhill, the walk through Boboli was uphill and the walk to Piazzale Michaelangelo along Via Di Belvedere was very downhill. Then it was a long hike up to Piazzale Michaelangelo. Up and up and up! By the time I arrived I needed
resuscitating reviving with an espresso and a lot of water. Which we enjoyed while looking at this view. As we walked around the Piazzale we enjoyed the views even more. I didn’t know there was a beach in Florence! This is the wall we walked besides while walking down Via di Belvedere. There’s another David! After all that walking and all those hills, we all wanted to lie in or beside the pool for the afternoon which is exactly what we did. For many hours and while there I swam quite a few lengths so I was really good with exercising today. Apart from an ice cream at Piazzale Michaelangelo we had not eaten since breakfast so we snacked on some crisps with a cold drink and I had tea with some biscuits. I snoozed, swam and played cards with Harvey. It was such a relaxing afternoon.
It catches the evening sunshine so is a very pleasant space to sit. We headed in to town to a restaurant we had been recommended by fellow guests at the hotel. We were dropped off at the Southern end of Ponte Vecchio and enjoyed walking along in the dusk. I was comfortably warm and there was a fantastic guitarist busking in the middle of the bridge. People sat around and enjoyed the music. There are so many gelaterias near Ponte Vecchio, we decided to have one on the way back instead of dessert. We had not walked up this street before so had not walked past this building before – the Mercato Nuevo. We came to this again later and were in for a treat. This is where we had dinner, La Grotta Guelfa which was near Piazza della Repubblica. I only took my small camera out tonight so apologies for the picture quality but this was an excellent Tuscan vegetable soup. Mainly cabbage with white beans but it was very well flavoured and I really enjoyed it. My main was chicken with Mozarella which came in a cream sauce and I had it with roast potatoes. Apart from the gazillion calories it must have contained, this was excellent and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately Lara and Harvey did not enjoy their pork dishes. They both had different pork chop recipes and neither were great. So a bit hit and miss this place. The service though was faultless. We were given a prosecco each when we arrived because we had to wait for a table but we hadn’t booked and only waited 10 minutes! Then they deducted Harvey’s meal from the menu as he hadn’t eaten it so we were very impressed. After dinner we heard some beautiful singing and discovered a busking opera singer in the Mercato Nuovo! You definitely get a better class of busker in Florence than any other city I have ever been to! She was really good and I listened to several songs with absolute pleasure and was more than happy to drop some money in to her hat.While we enjoyed the singing we found this excellent ice-cream and chocolate shop.
Most Italian gelaterias do not sell sorbets, much to Harvey’s disappointment but this one sold several fruit flavours as well as hazelnut, pistachio and chocolate so he was a very happy boy. Opera and ice-cream, enjoyed in the open air in Florence – what a complete treat.
That was our last full day in Florence. We have all really enjoyed it and I would like to return one day to see many of the other places I have not had time to visit.