Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rome to Florence

Note:  this is the second post for today, so continue on down if you want to read more about the food tour.

On Monday after the tour we all went back to the hotel and piled into our room, as the others had checked out. We did various things. After an early dinner, our four kids got a taxi for the airport. They had morning flights and decided to spend the last night in the airport hotel, a wise choice. It was sad to see them go, as we've had such a fantastic time all together. The next morning we went to a laundromat just down the street and got everything clean for the next part of the trip.

We checked out and headed for the station, about a 7-minute walk, where we got a caprese sandwich on a dark roll to share on the train. Unfortunately, the platform for our train wasn’t listed until just 15 minutes before departure, so we stood and looked at the display for quite a while. We had reserved seats on a Frecciarossa, the fastest train, which went about 170 mph. The scenery was beautiful. We went through lots of tunnels which caused ear pressure due to the high speed. We sat across from each other with an older (not older than us, though) couple in the other two seats, with a table between. They were very friendly and she commented on my knitting. But then they both (especially her) kept talking at us constantly, even though it was clear we didn’t have any idea what she was saying. So then she started talking to the family of four across the aisle, slightly spitting on me as she went. They were from Napoli and friendly, but I was very glad to depart after 1-1/2 hours!! The walk to our hotel was even a good bit shorter than Metropole was from Termini, so that was easy. We headed out in the early evening to explore the area and find some dinner. The Hotel Sempione is in a good location, comfortable although much smaller rooms than the Metropole, and faster wi-fi. We ate at the Trattoria Nerone, recommended by Rick Steves. It was good, inexpensive, but very kitschy, as he warned.

Kitschy decorations

Pizza oven
Wednesday morning we set out early to do the Renaissance walk from the Duomo to the Arno as narrated by Rick Steves. Unfortunately, we both had trouble with the narration stopping and not being able to restart it. We enjoyed it anyway.

Duomo Facade

Statue in Loggia
We stopped at the Uffizi Gallery to purchase tickets with a reserved entry time for 8:45 tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to seeing the famous works of art there.

Ponte Vecchio, famous bridge of jewelry shops
We crossed the Ponte Vecchio and walked by the Pitti Palace, then headed back a different way. We ended up on the street of very expensive shops including Armani, Dior, Ferragamo, etc.

Typical doors along street

Looking into a courtyard

I think this must be the Ferragamo flagship store!
We came out at the Santa Maria Novella Church, which is just opposite the station, and therefore very close to our hotel.

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