Italy 2017

October 7, 2017- Saturday, last day in Florence

We met Beth for breakfast at the hotel, and then were off for our 8:30AM tour at the Uffizi. We were glad to get there early because it is so crowded and despite the stringent crowd control, the air conditioning just cannot keep up. We left Beth for lunch on our own and grabbed a taxi to Piazzale Michaelangelo Plaza, a terrace high above the city for an overview of Florence.

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The Ponte Vecchio is in the foreground with the post-1945 rebuilt bridges lining up behind it. After enjoying the sunny weather, we took a taxi part of the way, but walked through the streets once we were closer to the hotel, stepping into the shops to explore the extravagant good available.

Our friend Nancy arrived earlier in the day, and after she rested a bit, the four of headed out for an aperativo and dinner. We took a long stroll through the historic district. Nancy took this shot of us rubbing the nose of the florentine boar which will bring us back to the city again someday. We had a delicious dinner at Trattoria Ponte Vecchio.

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Italy 2017

October 6, 2017- Friday in Florence

October 6, 2017- Friday in Florence

Today in Florence, we have time to enjoy just being here. After the activity of Cinque Terre, we slept in until after 9 AM, and then leisurely walked to the Accademia Gallery where we had a guided tour which included Michelangelo’s David. It is always inspiring. On our way back to Albergo Firenze, we spent some time browsing through the Eataly store. This store was originated by a group of international chefs, including Mario Battali and Lydia Bastianich, and has many unique items to see.

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Albergo Firenze, our home in Florence
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The Eataly Store

From our hotel, the Albergo Firenze, you can look to the left and see the carousel of Piazza Repubblica. If we take a few steps to the right and look down the crossing street we can see the Duoma Cathedral. I took a picture of the Bell Tower adjacent  to the Duoma with Andrea, arms crossed, dwarfed in front of it.

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We took a short rest in our room, and then met up with Beth, our guide for the remaining days in Italy. She tooks us on a stroll around the area. We arrived at the Arno River to see scullers drifting in front of the Uffizi Gallery with the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) just beyond.

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During WWII, the Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge not blown up.  It could not hold the weight of armored tanks, so it was saved. The Allies were on the left bank and the Nazis were on the right side, each shelling the other. This part of Florence was destroyed and then rebuilt after the war.

The Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio – lined with jewelry shops and only open to pedetrian traffic.

Before stopping for dinner, Beth snapped a photo of the two of us with the Ponte Vecchio in the background.

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After a long walk, we enjoyed dinner at Antico Fattoria. I enjoyed a favorite…fried zucchini blossoms and pasta with truffle sauce. Andrea also tried the zucchini blossoms and had pasta with wild boar and tomato sauce.

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Italy 2017

October 5, 2017- Cinque Terre, Italy

October 5, 2017- Cinque Terre, Italy

The alarm rang at 5AM, and we were off and running! It was too early for breakfast at the hotel, so we grabbed a breakfast bar to eat later in the morning. Our cab was prompt and dropped us at the train station from which we would catch a bus. Then we were off on a two hour ride to reach Cinque Terre, a national heritage site much like our national parks. It consists of 5 towns built along the Ligurian Sea, on the northwest coast of Italy. When we reach the city of La Spezia, we know we are close. The city hosts an Italian Navy base and was heavily bombed in WWII. Now rebuilt, it remains a beautiful seaport. I caught a quick snapshot through the bus window of this thoroughly modern bell tower.

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The bus dropped us at the top of Manarola’s heights from where we descended on foot to Manarola. My term for this is “Immersion Fitness”! Once we reached the bottom of what seemed like 1000 stairs, and probably was, I whipped out my sturdy collapsible cane to meander (or is that wobble) down the steep declining streets- luckily – no cars to contend with. One charming young guy was always at hand to assist me when the steps were huge or the decline more than I could handle. My ever-troublesome feet held out OK. It was “jelly” legs that were the problem.

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
The cliffs of Cinque Terre holds as many miles of terracing as miles in the Great Wall of China
Manarola Harbor, Cinque Terre, Italy
Manarola Harbor, Cinque Terre, Italy
Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
Rio Maggiore Port, Cinque Terre, Italy

Once on somewhat level land, we proudly strutted our way through town, looking from side to side at the homes and shops, and boarded a train which took us to Rio Maggiore. Once, there we walked from the train station to the landing dock where we would board a water taxi for a boat ride along the coast. Andrea managed to find some magnets depicting the five villages, and I found a coloring book of the same. Since I brought my Inktense pencils along, I hope to begin coloring the village-scapes soon.

Corniglia, Cinque Terre, Italy
Corniglia- the one village without a harbor.

Once we arrived at the 5th village, Monterosa al mare, we had a delicious lunch and then boarded the train for the ride back to La Spezia and the bus back to Florence (Firenze). We slept well after we walked 12,000 footsteps (6 miles) according to the Fitbit. Our legs are telling us all about it too!

Italy 2017

Ciao!

October 28, 2017 We are now home from our Italy food trip. Here is our group at the Florence Food Tour… we were usually just 6 total, but added 3 people on this day. Six compatriots was just the right size for the excursions by van that took us into the Tuscany hill town countryside. Click here to see our 20 day travelogue.

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The Art Quilting emphasis of ‘M Unique Blog  will change back to art quilting very soon. I left a partially completed work on the design wall, and hope to soon be back working on it.