September 15, 2013
We packed our bags,walked to the train station and said our goodbyes to the beautiful Venice. Today we are off to Florence!
Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region. One of the most beautiful cities in Italy and the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.
Casa Billi Guesthouse
Via Faenza, 12 – Florence We found a great deal on accommodation in the historic center of Florence. Only a 5 minute walk from the train station and pretty much close to everything we wanted to see. Our room was huge, with tall ceilings and very large windows. Although we were only spending one night and hardly spending time in the room at all, it is still rewarding to know all your research paid off and picked a great accommodation!
At the heart of historic Florence, the Duomo (which means “dome” in Italian) is the city’s main cathedral and dates from the late 13th century. The Duomo was originally constructed without its crowning dome, which left a giant circular hole in the roof, because the designers didn’t yet know how to create such a dome without inner supports. The dome was finally added in the early 15th century! Some of the sights worth noting inside the Duomo are the fabulous painting of “The Last Judgment” which covers the interior of the dome, the lovely stained glass windows, and the tomb of the dome’s designer, Brunelleschi.
Giotto’s Bell Tower
Definitely worth the climb up 414 steps! We were rewarded with spectacular views! It was a long way up but there were three levels along the way to take a rest and enjoy views. The steps get a bit tight, especially towards the top, so perhaps not best for claustrophobics. It can be a bit cramped in places as people coming down whilst you are going up!!
Piazza della Signoria
With the lines for the Uffizi Gallery unspeakably long, we decided to skip the museums in turn to see the many outdoor galleries around the city. Piazza della Signoria has the finest collection of outdoor statues in the world; featuring statues of Cosimo 1 dei Medici in the center of the square, copy of Michelangelo’s David, Hercules and Cacus and the gorgeous Fountain of Neptune, each resting along the Plazzo Vecchio building.
Gelateria Perche No!
Via Tavolini 19r, Florence, Italy We made our way down the streets to find another gelato treasure. Gelateria Perche No! Florence. #2 on the World’s Best IceCream List! You might have noticed this list publicized all over PEI since COWS IceCreamwas voted #1!! Founded in 1939, Perché no! is one of the historical ice-cream shop in Florence. The ice-cream is traditionally homemade every morning, hence fresh every day.
We made our way to the edge of the Arno River, then down to the Ponte Vecchio bridge.
Erected during Roman times, this is the most ancient and photographed bridge in Florence, which is characterized by three arches and two wide arcades on each side housing the famous and unusual “botteghe” or shops. Built in 1345 by Taddeo Gaddi. The shops have lined the bridge since at least the 12th century. In the 16th century, it was home to butchers until Cosimo couldn’t stand the stench as he crossed the bridge every day, so he evicted the meat cutters and moved in the classier gold- and silversmiths, tradesmen
Once our memory cards were nearly full we made our way around town looking for the best deal on a Florentine Steak.
A real Florentine steak or Bistecca Alla Fiorentina is T-Bone steak from a steer which has reached an age of 30 months. The usual portion designated for two is 2 1/2 pounds and 2 1/2 inch thick! It is typically grilled rare over an open grill.
We found a great little restaurant along one of the many town squares. We had perfect timing! The moment we sat down at our table it started to down pour! We were sitting next to the open floor to ceiling windows and enjoyed a great view of the thunder and lightning. Our food arrived quickly. We enjoyed a lovely house red wine and started with an antipasta dish of prosciutto and mozzarella, followed by a small course of pasta, and then the main event; the Florentine steak. It was an ambitious meal, but we wanted to go all out and enjoy a several course meal. Everything was delicious!
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