European Chronicles | Firenze!

Well we set off for Florence on the 29th of May, with a quick stop at Pisa along the way to check out the leaning tower.  On the way we realized that, as Florence was our fourth city, that meant our trip was almost half over!  How sad!

After a burning hot train ride (what is WITH Trenitalia and their inability to properly ventilate their trains??), we arrived in Pisa to discover that all the rumors were true: there is literally NOTHING there except for the tower.  And even that is on the complete opposite side of town from the train station.  So, like the idiots we are, we decided to walk it (after we’d checked our bags into a baggage storage place at the station).  And it was a loooooooong (and incredibly boring) walk.  But all of a sudden, we came into a clearing and there it was!  And what a strange old building it is.  A lot smaller than I thought…and actually more ‘leany’ than I thought too.  It was beautiful!

We really wanted to have a rest on all that beautiful grass, but they wouldn’t let anyone on it!  So we had to settle for some marble steps instead 🙂

If we thought our first train was bad, the second was even worse!  It must have been over a hundred degrees in that car.  We were sweating like beasts!  If it weren’t such a convenient way to get from city to city, I would swear off Italian trains for life.  Haha.  Delilah didn’t seem to mind though.  As long as she had her coke zero bottle (her absolute favorite toy…good thing I spent all that money on new toys for this trip), she was happy as a little clam.  We even gave her her own seat, now that she’s a big sitting girl.

We finally arrived in Florence and had to walk and walk and WALK to get to our apartment.  All on (very very beautiful, but also very impractical for walking) cobblestones. Since we’d already done so much walking in Pisa, we were about ready to die once we reached the main piazzas near our apartment.  But then, lo and behold, we saw the most glorious sight in the entire universe.

TRA LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We didn’t even know this was happening while we were in Florence, so to see it when we were bedraggled and roasting to death was like a beacon of hope that gave us the strength to carry on and make it to Via Della Mosca, otherwise known as our street in Florence.  LOL.  The apartment was SO CUTE and had a really pretty view of the river.  We loved it!  It was a bit late in the day for us to do anything that night, so we decided to save our exploring for the next morning.

We headed off for the gelato first (I mean, priorities, people!!) and it was GOOD.   It was set up so you could buy tasting tickets, and then just go around getting little dishes of a bunch of different flavors.  Here we are just after getting our tickets.  I love Delilah’s face in this one…she’s totally excited, even though she has absolutely no idea what is going on.  Haha.

Brett’s absolute favorite was lime, although he also enjoyed limoncello.

And my favorites were dark chocolate and coconut…sooooooo yummy!

We then headed over to the famous Duomo and it’s beautiful piazza.  It was unbelievable!  Such an intricate building…and so huge!  It’s like a giant gorgeous fortress amidst all these teeny little buildings in Florence.  And I swear I have done nothing to the sky in these…it was like a painting!  That’s what happens when you go out later in the day…the light is perfect!

And here’s some with us, which we took earlier in the day when the light wasn’t as purty.

We then headed to the Basilica di Santa Croce, where so many legends have been buried that it is known as the Temple of the Italian Glories.  Micelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, and Marconi are all buried within its walls.  We went in to have a look, but unfortunately Delilah thinks it’s just HILARIOUS to squeal and yell at the top of her lungs in quiet places, so needless to say the two of us didn’t get to stay long.  LOL.  But Brett stayed in for a few minutes longer to get some pictures for us.  It’s such a gorgeous church!

The inside…

And walking outside in the gardens.

By this point, we were pretty hungry, so we decided to try out a sandwich place that gets tons of raves in Lonely Planet.  Imagine our surprise, when we showed up and it was literally just a window on the street with an enormous line stringing a few meters down the sidewalk!

They served little sandwiches absolutely PACKED with delicious ingredients.  Seriously, best sandwiches we’d ever had.  My favorites were soft goats cheese with sundried tomato, and roasted pork with truffle cream.  YUM AND A HALF!

As we strolled home that evening, we couldn’t get over how many people there were on the streets.  Central Florence is a pedestrian’s paradise.  The only cars allowed are residents (and even those are only allowed at certain times) so the city is just filled with people out having a stroll on the cobblestone streets in the evening sunlight.  Most of them eating ice cream of some other delicious treat.  There was such a neat vibe and ambience in the air…I really liked that about Florence!  Here was a shot from our walk back to the apartment.

The next morning we woke up and decided to take a trip out to Tuscany.  We chose Siena as the place in Tuscany that we most wanted to visit.  And due to my research, we found that taking a bus there was actually much shorter (and much easier) than the train.  So on the bus we went!  It was actually quite nice…we got to enjoy the rolling Tuscan hills and beautiful vineyards all the way to Siena.  And Delilah slept the whole way, so that’s always good!

We had to take this shot right after arriving, not because I am looking uber hot with my stupid facial expression and pants falling off my butt, but because of all the motorbikes in the background.  They are EVERYWHERE here.  Everywhere you go, they are just lined up like dominoes down the street.  It’s hilarious.

We loved Siena…it was gorgeous!  The huge main square (Piazza del Campo) is very famous for its annual village bareback horse race (the Palio di Siena) that takes place around the perimeter of the square.  We had just recently watched a special on the horse race on TV, so we were excited to be able to see it in person!

Here we are in the square.

Brett relaxing after a tasty gelato.

And the Torre del Mangia, which was built in the 1300’s.  It was gorgeous!

Delilah liked it too 🙂

We even found an Italian baby shoe store, which (luckily for Brett) was closed for the day.  Good thing too…they had the prices in the window and some of them were like 80 Euros!  Good Lord!

The next day we woke up to find a very VERY cranky baby.  After some investigation, we found the culprit…or more accurately, the culpritS.  Two little baby teeth coming in!!

Sheesh.  Lilan and Peter dropped us off at the airport two weeks ago with a teeny little baby.  Now she’s sitting, saying ‘mama’ (although we don’t know if she’s referring to me yet…lol) and has two teeth (they just cut through this morning, thank goodness!).  At this rate, Delilah will be a teenager by the time they pick us up from the airport in three weeks!

Anyway, she was not at all a happy camper (and we were pretty tired too) so we took the morning and early afternoon off to hang out in the apartment.  We headed out for a late lunch at around 2pm at a little restaurant in our neighborhood that had tasty pasta.  It was delicious!  We almost didn’t have dessert, but then changed our minds at the last second…and I am SO FREAKIN GLAD that we did.  Because the dessert menu had the most gloriously hilarious English translations that I have ever seen.  By far my absolute favorite thing I have EVER read on a menu was this:

I mean, how could we not order that???  LOLOL!!

We took crankypants out for a little walk in the early evening to check out the gorgeous (and very very old) bridge near our apartment.  On the way, we took a few snaps of the streets, just because they are so pretty.

I love that everywhere in this city (and all of Italy so far) still has things to tie up your horse along the street.  I thought this was a particularly beautiful one.

We made it to the bridge!

The top of the bridge used to be filled with butchers…one after the next.  But they kept getting in trouble for throwing their meat scraps into the river, so the city forced them out and filled it with jewelers instead.  And O.M.G. was the jewelery the most hideously gaudy stuff that I have ever seen.  It was awesome.  Check out how it is practically radiating gold onto these window shoppers’ faces.

Awesomeness.

And us on the bridge.  Even when she’s teething, she busts out the smiles for the camera!  Just like her mom 😉

I also found the most amazing little globe that I just had to have.  I’ve always wanted a globe, but I either found them too ‘schoolroom’ or too gaudy for my tastes.  And then I stumbled across the perfect one here!  It cost a small fortune, so Brett won’t let me take it out of the box for a pic (it’s all wrapped up).  Guess I’ll have to save that one for when we get home!  🙂

I had Delilah up on my back for our walk home and soon realized that she had passed out from teething exhaustion.  Poor little bug!

It was only when I got home, that I realized I’d been walking around with two little hands sticking out of my shoulders.  LOL!!

Aww, what a cutie face 🙂

We arrived in Rome yesterday afternoon (to a not great weather report, so I think our glorious weather streak is officially over…boo, hiss) and we can’t wait to explore.  See you all in a few days!

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One Response to European Chronicles | Firenze!

  1. Melissa says:

    Oh the jealousy!! We spent 2 weeks in Rome, Florence and Venice on our honeymoon in 2007. Florence was by far our favorite. You’re absolutely right about the pedestrian lifestyle. We are so hoping to make it back one day.

    You’re giving me the confidence to want to travel with a baby.

    Melissa & Olive. 🙂

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