When it comes to travel stories, there’s likely an element of uncertainty. We appreciate everything unfolding like “clockwork” and let go of anything that might not work out so well.
Thus, seeing our kids Sam & Hannah waiting outside our hotel in Florence felt like a victory! Us coming from four prior countries (see previous posts here) and them coming from a few days in Rome (see below) required lots of coordination. This trip was postponed from 2020 for obvious reasons, so the fact that it finally happened only enhanced the joy. And it was the beginning of eight wonderful days together, first in Florence and then Venice.
Florence was the second stop on a 2001 trip for me and the hubby. Those accommodations were at the superb Villa La Massa, a short drive away. Having accommodations this trip on the Arno with the ability to walk virtually anywhere is an entirely difference experience. While the Westin Excelsior “excelled” at taking care of all of our needs with very professional staff, the hotel is a bit “long in the tooth.” Nevertheless, the location and aforementioned personnel more than made up for the smallish bathrooms. The sweeping rooftop view is below.
The Ponte Vecchio below, a tourist must-see for sure, with the countless jewelry shops from end to end. Built in 1345!
Son Sam definitely has the “foodie” gene and did lots of research for meals. It is a pleasure to not be making all the decisions! Of course finding good food anywhere in Italy is fairly easy. And the gelato .. oh, my. Some places get higher ratings than others, but it is difficult to discern. Vivoli came highly recommended and did not disappoint. One can just admire the longevity, having first opened in 1929. We met a fellow American who ate there sometimes twice a day, every day of his Florence stay which was not short. My flavors below (chocolate mint and coconut).
BELOW: Repeat visit to Osteria Cinghiale Bianco
Hearing all about the state of hospitality in Italy with proprietor Massimo Masselli above; delicious pastas, ribollita and truffles below.
I will be devoting a separate blog from our cooking class, which took most of our first day. A phenomenal and fun experience! Without question, the other “high point” of Florence was seeing Michelangelo’s David (again for the hubby and me). This towering masterpiece stands 17′ tall. David is simply exquisite. It just takes one’s breath away. And it was created out of a single block of marble. “How in the world” is all one can ponder …
What else did we do? Walking, walking, walking. A bit of shopping but mostly just the windows. Photos. And eating. See for yourself with the included re-caps below. Not much else is necessary to have a damn good time roaming around this gorgeous, delicious, and historic destination.
Above at Osteria de’Cicalini and below at Le Volte Ristorante — so simple; so delicious.
Favorite meal alert below (if I had to pick) at Ristorante Belcore where we savored the classic “Bistecca alla Fiorentina.” So good!!
Next post: The crazy drive to and the how we spent our time in Venice. Stay tuned.