European tour – Day 7 – Florence

Today we left Vicenza and drove to Florence. It took about 3 hours on the Autostrasse. We found the hotel after maneuvering in some interesting traffic. One lane might be two here, and lanes becomes nonexistent if you are on a scooter. We and then had to maneuver the car into some double parking to get the luggage to the door, and I was off to find parking, about 1KM up the road.

The B&B room was in a traditional Italian city apartment with a large drawing room and about 5 additional rooms. The front balcony overlooked the street and our room had a nice balcony to a quieter section of the city.

We quickly got settled, but I had forgotten to check in with the parking site so I walked back up the hill to get the permit before coming back down to pick Kathy up to take a drive around the Tuscan hills. We stopped by the Michaelangelo viewpoint, which was under construction for the Tour de France. Apparently it kicks off in Florence for the first time Saturday. The views were nevertheless beautiful.

It was hot out so we decided to keep driving around and to wait to walk the city in the evening hours. We took some insanely narrow roads over a hill and through endless Olive groves. I managed to scrape up the rear fender of the rental trying to turn around. I am usually pretty adept, but the European mirrors of this rental got the better of me. Oh well, I purchased the insurance for this reason, and for the fact that steel bumpers are not a thing here. LOL.

We were a bit hungry and decided to look for a place to eat. We did not find anything in the countryside so we headed back to Florence to park the car. We did manage to find a spot a couple hundred meters down the road, so it will be easier to retrieve when we check out, and then headed through the massive city walls into the city of Florence. We found a nice cafe in Piazza Santo Spirito and had a Calzone and Rialto salad (Spinach) and tried to cool off a bit with water and a Spritz.

We wandered through Florence and entered in a few churches to see the local dead people. Each church is the same, but in its own way unique and a day could be spent in each learning why it was built, for whom, and who over the years has painted, carved, or been buried there. Overall, our impression of the city was… congested and disruptive in contrast to the interesting architecture. In contrast to the brick and stucco (with a splash of marble) in Venice, this place has large block construction on the major buildings as well as a variety of medieval, gothic, and early to late renaissance that contrasts from one building to another and is, frankly, interesting.

It was still hot as we walked around in the late afternoon, so we stopped for some more water, a Coke Zero, and a Spritz. I wanted to see the Palazzo Vecchio and the Ufizi gallery area so we walked to that, viewed the copy of David and many others, and then over to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It was too late for the museums, but the lines and crowds are really not our thing anyway, so this was perfect.

We finished the walking tour and headed back over the bridge at Ponte Vecchio (all jewelry shops that were closing for the day), and back toward the city wall. The crowds were still there, but the cars were minimal as the Tour de France will be riding through this route and all scooters and cars were directed to park elsewhere.

We arrived back at the room around 9PM and watched the sunset over the Florence apartments behind our B&B. We relaxed for a bit and slept well in this quiet space. This morning we woke and had a nice breakfast on the beautiful apartment and terrace (the last few photos).