Only three more posts left of my Italy "tour" and I'll be all caught up! Thank you for following along with me - I know some of you are enjoying the armchair tour and others might be thinking, "Get on with it already!" Almost done... Then to get the pictures printed and into my book - that always seems to be the hardest part!
After the retreat ended several of us went back to Florence to either continue on home or to meet family here and continue the adventure - my husband flew over and met me there. We checked into our hotel which was very conveniently located right around the corner from the Duomo...
and right above the Disney store!
Our first stop was a new favorite gelato shop (thank you for the recommendation, Carolyn!) - Grom. It is a chain gelato shop in Italy but so good.
And then we started walking and walking and walking...
This postcard display amused me with its very strategic placement of the price tag - modesty next to the Pope, of course!
Aren't we a cute couple!
The Ponte Vecchio bridge (built in 1345!) across the Arno River (it was the only bridge in Florence not bombed during the WWII by the Nazis.)
and looking the other direction...
We stopped for lunch at this restaurant - mainly because they not only had fans but misters that felt sooo good on the 95 degree day! This little friend joined us for lunch - a step up from having a pigeon on our table, but a little annoying after a while!
No fear here!
We walked along the river and crossed over closer to our destination... I liked this statue built out over the water... don't fall!!!
We walked up and up...
Love this graffiti on the crosswalk sign - perfect for Italy!
On our way up we stopped in a garden and found this statue of the frame of a suitcase - I love the way it frames the city back across the river!
Our first destination was Basilica di San Miniato al Monte. It is one of my favorite places in Florence. I love the views and the statues at the cemetery that surrounds it.
I think this is my favorite statue that I've ever seen - it tugs at my heart every time.
There had been a wedding at the church just before we arrived and this little girl was peering into one of the crypts - I don't blame her - the statues are fascinating - I always wonder about the stories of those memorialized here.
The church is beautiful inside too.
I'm intrigued that in many places that I've seen in Italy and in France, that many times a work of art or a building might be started, and if they run out of money or due to some other circumstance the work isn't finished, they just leave it, rather than having someone come back and finish it at a later date. I think in the US, we would make sure it was done - have a fund-raiser or something - but I love that it is left as it was. This wall wasn't finished and the drawings remain...
The cemeteries are so different than what we're used to...
As we were leaving the basilica and crossing over to Piazzale Michelangelo - my other favorite place in Florence - we saw this guy running with his stash of fake designer bags. It means the police were't far behind!
I had to laugh at the line-up of the guys waiting for the police to leave - they must have good hiding places for their wares!
The people begin to gather to watch the sunset and the gorgeous views of the city. The guy entertaining the crowd was a Paul Simon sound-alike and pretty good!
I have very happy memories of getting hot cocoa with Brandon the two times we were here at the Playbar since it was winter time then.
After the sun set, we walked all the way back and across the Ponte Vecchio - I always feel like I'm on a movie set in Florence!
Putting "love locks" on the bridges in Paris has become a tradition but I think it's ridiculous how it's spilling out to other cities - come on - random locks on the side of a wall???
As we wandered and explored, we saw this sight - it looked like a man up on the side of a building...
but it was just a super-cool statue!
On the corner of just about every street you find a Madonna up on the wall - they are like mini works of art around every turn.
The Uffizi art gallery...
We ended the day at one of our favorite places right across the street from our hotel for a little late night gelato - yum!
Next up - biking in Lucca. I hope your day is GREAT! :)