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Italian Holiday

Florence, Italy: Today is a national holiday in Italy - Ferragosto. We have asked and no one can really explain the holiday to us. It is not a government holiday. It is not a religious holiday. It is a holiday to celebrate summer, the end of the harvest and a time to rest. Many shops and restaurants were closed today - but the tourists were out in force.

We did our favorite thing to do when on vacation - walk around and see what we can see. We have previously spent a week in Florence, so now - instead of long museum lines - we just want to revisit favorite places and restaurants and enjoy the pretty city. Shops (and many restaurants) were closed, but street vendors were enjoying the crowds - which today included tourists and Italians on a vacation day in the middle of the week.

The Duomo - most famous church in Florence

David & David - and David. I'm thinking the marble David would not be a distance runner, but maybe a decathlete or a 200m man? With those gigantic hands, a discus thrower? Thoughts?

We walked through the Uffizi...

...to the Arno River - with a view of the Ponte Vecchio

Gold is the "thing" in the shops lining the Ponte Vecchio Bridge over the River Arno. The shops are ancient and there were plenty of people shopping, buying and window shopping this holiday afternoon.

Here is a view from the Ponte Vecchio Bridge - looking south.
(The River Arno is often an answer in the New York Times crossword puzzle.)

And just for fun - the same shot in sepia. The Ponte Vecchio was not destroyed by bombing in WWII.

I had walked 7000 steps and was ready for some lunch. DT remembered a place we had enjoyed on our last visit to Florence, so herded me all the way across town to a non-touristy area and found (on memory alone) Trattoria al Trebbio.

Enough cheese was consumed yesterday, so we went for bruschetta as an appetizer. I had Chicken Milanese (with more tomato) and My David dined on pasta with anchovies, tomatoes, chilies and olives. We were both most happy with our meals, the friendly service by the owner and our fellow diners (most were Italian).

Which once again, brings us back to our room for a rest before watching the evening session of the World Track & Field Championships from Moscow... and a little video chat with Leo while he was eating his breakfast in Los Angeles.

Just before nine o'clock, we went to dinner at another of our favorite restaurants in Florence, Osteria del Porcellino, or as we call it, The Little Pig. Quite an unusual place for a non-pork-eater to dine, but the restaurant is, in fact, named after a nearby statue of a little pig - though they are famous for serving wild boar in the winter.

I ordered the same thing as last time - vegetarian asparagus risotto. So lovely, so creamy - just perfect. Dave had the lamb chops with the best roasted potatoes - crispy on the outside and coated with a little rosemary-lamb fat-olive oil. Just a perfect meal. After dinner, we strolled through beautiful Florence, enjoying street performers and vendors selling fun little toys (for children older than our little guy). 

There appears to be a problem in our Italian dining experience. We have been in Italy six nights and have yet to have a dessert. We haven't even had gelato. What is wrong? This needs to be rectified very soon.

On a random personal note, a Finnish publication contacted me last week asking for permission to use a photo I snapped in Osaka at the World Track & Field Championships in 2007. Permission granted and the story went on-line today.

Pedometer: 10,079 - 4.3 miles. Just barely made my mark today. We spent a lot of time in the room watching the meet from Moscow on EuroSport Television. Tomorrow the city will return to normal and we will be on another walking adventure.

Until my next update, I remain, your porky correspondent.

About our hotel in Florence