Thursday, September 19, 2013

DATELINE: Florence (4)

We got a somewhat earlier start this morning.  It was cool, overcast and, in fact, misty.  By the time we got it together and made it through the park, it was beginning to brighten.  I saw these gorgeous beauties sticking out of a pail in front of the fruit vendor.  If I had been on my way home I would have taken them with me.  Alas.

We hopped on the bus and headed into the city to catch one of the tourist buses for a trip around Florence.  Helps to get the lay of the land.  We got on one that included a trip up to the enchanting town of Fiesole.  We drove through the city with the recording mentioning famous buildings, piazzas, gardens, walkways, etc., but the bus didn't slow down and I couldn't take any photos.  And the traffic was monstrous.  Here's what Florence has:  great views, old buildings, beautiful shops with even more beautiful goods, fabulous food, and TRAFFIC.  While at a stop light I noticed this apartment house.  It's so typical of this city.

 It's located on the banks of the Arno, but most buildings erected post 1960 have this same color scheme, including ours.  A sort of mustard-y yellow paint with green shutters.  Not, I must add, those located deep in the heart of the city which have absorbed years of exhaust fumes and are gray and dirty-looking!  But only on the outside; inside they're downright palaces.

 Then we turned toward Fiesole.  We remembered what a beautiful ride it was up into the quiet green hills.  Yes, after the hectic, traffic-choked city it was sweet relief.  The sun was out, the air smelled like pines and rosemary, the hills are dotted with these red-roofed villas.  It's all very inviting!

Back down on the shade-dappled road, through the city, and across the Arno to Oltrarno, our side of the river, and up a road that runs behind the Boboli Gardens.

looking toward the Ponte Vecchio
Along this route we passes several famous spots:  the old (and sadly dilapidated) home and laboratory of Galileo; the villa where Tchaikovsky composed; another where Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote and coughed.  All of this history is clustered along a beautiful forested path that runs downhill for 6 km.  A great Sunday walking spot, as long as you take the bus to the top first.  In fact, the path ends at the Porta Romana, our entrance to the park and our walk home.

We got back to the bus stop, walked across the street, got a sandwich and headed home.  Tomorrow we'll go to the Galleria dell Academia to get tickets to go on either Saturday afternoon or Sunday.  Then we'll do some other sight seeing, hit the Mercado Centrale and the stalls surrounding it ~ I'm looking for a red purse and some scarves ~ and find someplace nifty for lunch.  I can't believe we've only got 3 more days here.  We're already talking about a month in Florence, but talk is cheap.  Florence isn't.


mary ann said...


john nelson said...

Fiesole....! The carriage ride in "A Room With A View"
Did Jim give you a kiss in the Poppy field?

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