Florence, Italy: Can you stand another day of us walking the streets of Florence? I wasn't sure I was going to rally from yesterday - it is just so dang hot this week - but after sleeping TEN HOURS, I was ready to strap on my sandals and we were out the door, maps and camera in-hand.I am sure so many of you wonder why we have not visited The (real) David, or the Uffuzi or any of the churches... so if this is concerning you, please go to our last trip to Italy where we hit every cultural hotspot. This visit is all about spending time together and eating our way through Florence. We spent most of the day on the "other side of river", walking through the neighborhood and then spending hours strolling through the beautiful Boboli Gardens, figuring an unpaved tree-filled park would be the best bet in steamy Florence this afternoon. Typical street scene in a residential neighborhood. This shop sold fruits, vegetables... and wine Fountains - and drinking spouts are prominent throughout the city One of the original walls/gates to the city. That is one massive door! Boboli Gardens - on the estate once owned by the Medici Family - sits on a hill just above Florence. No caption could ever explain these photos Palazzo Pitti - the home of the Medici family (now a museum) There are hundreds and hundreds of statues in the gardens - modern and ancient... ...and this one is my absolute favorite. View of the Duomo from the Boboli Gardens Dave, in front of the Palazzo Pitti after our trudge walk
Okay, everybody all together now... what do we do after touristing for hours? That's right! Lunch!Leo our family and friends... and local real estate offices have teeny apartments for sale at 1.7 million (dollars) - I could live here! I'd weigh 374 pounds, but I could live here. There was still time for gelato - this time at Gelateria Rinascimento on Via de Tornabuoni. The key to good gelato is to buy it from a shop that makes it on-site. If it is sold in something that looks like a frozen box that could be moved/rolled around, just keep walking until you find the real thing. At this time, you can get a good scoop or two of gelato for 2-3 euros. Via de Tornabuoni is famous in Florence as the "shopping street". All the famous Italian (and French) designers are here - Gucci, Pucci, Ferragamo, Armani, Louis Vuittion... etc. (Left) This buiding - and similiar buildings on Tornabuoni, were originally built as single-family homes. They are gorgeous - with open courtyards in the center. These days, nearly all are shops, offices or have been remodeled into several apartments. (Right) Leo didn't need a $200 Armani school bag did he? Seriously? Who buys this stuff? The yellow & black dress is stunning, but 'sup with the pink fur "facade" in front of this black dress? We bought postcards instead.
This evening we finally had a reserved table at Buca Mario. Buca Mario is an ancient restaurant, opened in 1886, and they specialize in Beefsteak Florentine - a massive T-bone steak that would feed a family of six if they had been on a desert isle for three years. The last time here, we dined lighter and have regretted it since (after watching a fellow American chow-down on the glorious steak), so tonight we "went for it".I ordered a Negroni cocktail and we shared the famed steak of Tuscany. We were seated between a family from England and a group of Italian tourists from near-Venice. My goodness, there was much chit-chat between the three tables and we all had so much fun. One of the Italian women spoke excellent English and she was most helpful with our menu questions. In the end, the Italians bought the Americans (and the English) a round of Lemoncello cordials and we are all now best friends. As we exited the restaurant, the owners greeted us by name (!) and handed us a box of biscotti as a gift. I love Italy! Pedometer: 14,499 steps, 6.18 miles. Yeah, me! Until my next update, I remain, your beefy correspondent.