Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18, 2001, Florence Italy. It's Monday and we decided to take in the "David " at the Academia Gallery. It's a relatively short walk from our lodgings, so we started out around 10:30 a.m. or so. About half way there I mentioned that "you know, I'll bet the museum is closed on Monday -- many of them are!!" And, sure enough it was. No big deal, we decided we'd see David in the morning before we left for Venice.

We then made our way to the train "Stazione Santa Maria Novella" to settle on a time and train for our transit to Venice.We booked a 14:30 (2:30 p.m.) train so as to give us enough time to visit the Academia. We both figured we had walked enough over the past couple of days, so we opted for one of the double-decker buses for an overview of Florence. We then spent the next 3 hours touring the city and listening to the on-going description of the city.

One of the stops was near our hostel, so we took 1/2 hour break and had a bit of lunch. It turns out that Italy is full of "falafal joints", a food that Linda and I both enjoy. After lunch we re-boarded the bus for the second half of the guided tour. We finally left the bus at the Ponte Vecchio and took a slow walk back into our side of town.

After dinner, we thought we'd see if there was another concert near the Piazza de Republica and found a trio featuring trumpet player Fabrio Morgera. He was accompanied by a keyboard and drummer. The drummer, Piero Borri, was one of the most extraordinary musicians I've seen. All in all, the music scene in Florence seems to be very full -- and, apparently, free to those who seek out these performances.

Each of the cities we've visited has its own charm and personality. Rome and its antiquities is a wonderful place to see. Tuscany, with its villages and towns is beautiful, serene and charming all at the same time. But Florence is a step up. This is a vibrant city, teaming with activities, sights and people. Where Rome has a fair amount of litter in streets, Florence is clean and well maintained. The warm nights bring people into the streets for a variety of activities -- even at 1 and 2 in the morning. Yet, one feels safe and welcome. So, if you've got a week or two and want to visit Italy -- Florence is my recommendation.

Of course, we'll be in Venice tomorrow, so my opinion might change. Stay tuned!!!!