Firenze! Up early for a one and a half hour train ride to Florence. Arrived at Santa Maria Novella station about 10.30 and off into the fray. I had been a bit ambivalent about Florence because my last visit was in high summer and every patch of shade was filled with shoulder-to-shoulder tourists. However September, and though busy, it was perhaps a little better than Venice for the crowds.
We made our way to the Duomo, past the little hotel that I stayed last time. Very convenient for another time too. After a look and a few photos we needed a coffee and cornetto. Down a street that went in the direction away from the tourists, we found a little bar patronised by the locals from the market. Oh yes, the market seemed to have stretched since my last visit, and it reached the street where we found out bar.
Now, though I had been to Florence before, Broni had not. So culture was on the agenda, the Uffizi, Michelangelo’s David, etc. My own agenda was to visit the market. But it happened that right after our coffee we were already by coincidence AT the market. So we had to have a look through.
I did have a plan. The weather was a little cooler than expected, so I wanted to buy myself a warm vestito. Also a scarf to wear in Helsinki, though not necessarily a warm one. Well Florence is the place to buy scarves. Better than Rome, better than Venice. I should have bought more. So, a little shopping.
From there we made our way back past the Duomo to the Uffizi, then to the Ponte Vecchio. Stopped there to test the gelato, fig and peach. Best of the trip so far. Across the Ponte Vecchio to the Oltrarno, where most of the tourists are left behind.
I love the Oltrarno. I visited it last time and admired the huge doors with massive locks. Since then I have read the detective stories of Magdalen Nabb whose detective has an office in the Palazzo Pitti. That has helped me to understand the life in that area and the way the great families who lived in these palazzi shut out the world and lived behind these walls.
See wandered around some narrow streets and found a bar to sit down for a while and have lunch. Then we made our way back via all the ‘sights’ to…….the market. Oh I love that market. Probably the best market in the world.
Back to our good little bar, while I sketched part of the great door. It turned out to be the Palazzo Medici Riccardi. A drink before boarding the train and then back to our village.
Now, several places later, Florence was still the best shopping. I don’t regret the lack of culture on that day. since then it has been culture all the way. Now,Barcelona awaits me.