upon arrival, we were a bit disappointed with the airport. it was so small and had very few shops. i also remember waiting a long time at the baggage carousel for our bags and so i noted how low the ceiling was and i started to feel claustrophobic.
speaking about small and cramped, this was our cute little ride all throughout the trip:
|The FIAT 500 -- we were hoping to get this from the car rentals, and we did! :)|
yes, it was small, but me and hubby fit together snugly but comfortable enough... and it's an Italian classic! i had a chance to drive it a bit but my legs are still too short for this already teeny tiny car! :(
|our hotel bedroom|
|our four-star hotel in Florence... which to me is more like a pretentious three star. LOL.|
we arrived at our hotel at past 10 in the evening. the snooty-looking receptionist of the four-star hotel recommended us to have dinner at this Osteria a couple of blocks away.
|charming little place a few meters off our hotel|
and so we spent our third wedding anniversary dinner at this Osteria. the food was so-so. but the ambience and the restaurant staff were really nice.
|it was a coincidence that we had this wine from the famous Antinori vineyard in Chianti that we will be visiting at a later part of our trip|
after dinner, we did not waste our time and walked towards the Piazza della Signora, where i saw for the first time a replica of one of my favorite famous nudes:
|Michelangelo's David's replica|
|it's amazing how these sculptures look more alive than most people i know|
we woke up to a beautiful sunny morning the following day and it was perfect for a walk towards the Piazza del Duomo.
|wearing this shirt and skirt from the French summer sale from a shop called DPP made me feel as sunshiney as the weather|
since it was still very early in the morning, we decided to climb all the way up to the bell tower to have these magnificent views:
|don't you just love these colors?|
view from one of the rose-patterned grids of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore's bell tower
and of course, i just have to be a part of it:
|view of the cathedral's dome from the bell tower|
we did not really bother climbing to the top of the dome because we were so tired after climbing the tower with more than four hundred steps! we did however made the mistake of queuing to go inside the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiori which is a waste of time because it is more spectacular from the outside than the inside. don't waste your time queuing and paying for that! although, i don't get why they make you pay to enter a church/cathedral/basilica! they should only ask for payment for the museum. how do you do if you're not a tourist and just want to attend the mass or do some worshiping?
feeling all famished from all the queuing and climbing, we decided to go to the Mercato Centrale. we heard that lunch was cheap but really good.
so many food options!
|i love the ambience in this market! we came early, it got really crowded after 12!|
and so much good stuff to buy:
|i love these descriptive labels on the produce|
i absolutely adore limoncello, that's why we bought a much bigger bottle than this one:
|TIP: In Italy, they give limoncello and grappa shots for free at restaurants at the end of a meal if you ask for them, otherwise, they don't usually offer.|
some sun-dried pomodori, free for tasting:
|pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato|
we had some freshly-made pasta with some freshly-made sauce and a few glasses of wine. i was a bit tipsy after lunch.
|I had a glass of proseco before meal and a white wine to go with the pasta... it wasn't a lot but I still felt tipsy.|
but it didn't stop me from still heading towards the Galleria del Academia to see the real deal on Michelangelo's David.
i wonder who owns this shop:
|it was expensive and not really my type|
i love the classic simplicity of old Italian buildings.
|i love these narrow spaces with interesting views peeking at you|
and i was not disappointed:
this guy is the real deal. i would take that half-hour queue in the heat (despite booking online) any time just to get this snapshot!
the next day we headed off to Pisa and Lucca and the rest of our Tuscan trip. we did however return to Florence on our last day to catch the plane back to France. but before that, we still had time to visit a small town North of Florence that had this restaurant that offers a spectacular view of all of Florence.
these are all my Italian favorites:
|prosciutto and melons, bruschetta and crostini and some liver paté with our favorite Tuscan apéritif: Spritz|
in the evening, we visited a small, cozy rooftop bar called, La Terraza, which has a view of the Piazza della Signorina and the Arno River.
and these cocktails with free-flow of snacks -- chips, olives and cheese.
|hubby's girlie drink on the left is called Vesper, from the James Bond girl and mine is La vie en rose, which didn't really taste like the name at all|
lastly, there was this free concert amongst the nudes:
i really love Italy for the food, the sights and the beautiful weather... and also i like how people call me Signorina (Miss)... it makes me feel so young and pretty. :)
next time: Pisa and Lucca