Apologies, after another long day I as too tired to write my blog yesterday so am combining the two days here.
Day 6 – Saturday
After the usual call from New Zealand I decided to have an easy day here and so didn’t leave the apartment until after 12 noon. I got my usual greetings from the girls in the passticerria “Ciao. Come sta?” And “macchiato e brioche” I settled down for breakfast.
There was a different group of people there yesterday. Locals obviously enjoying an easy start to the weekend. A few acknowledged me with a smile and an occasional “Ciao” to which I bravely responded “Ciao”.
Then the bus, but horrors I was on the wrong bus. The driver assured me he was going to the stazione but when the bus took a different turn, I was sure he was going to some other stazione. But it turned out well because it stopped at the other side of the main station so I knew where I was after all.A wander around the now familiar streets and I came to the Duomo. The crowds here today were unbelievable; even the Cathedral itself (not the Dome or the Campanile) had a very long queue so I was glad that I had already visited it earlier in the week.
The plan had been to go to the Ponte Vecchio but what do we know about the best laid plans. I ended up in a warren of little streets, each one holding a treasure for me.
Doors with fascinating door handles
the School of Leonardo da Vinci
a Salumi (charcuterie)
and the same shop inside
A beautiful little shop full of magical smells and beautiful things
A screen that I think was of beaten gold leaf
All these wonders were laid out for my edification.
I found a pizzeria in a back street, Gusto Leo where I had the most enormous calzone – prosciutto e funghi e mozzarella (ham, mushrooms and mozzarella) and acqua frizzante (sparkling water). How the vocabulary is improving if only so that I can order food!
Then refreshed and replete, I wandered on to the Mercato Nuovo (New Market). A market has existed here since the 11th century, and the “new” current arcade was built in the mid 16th century for the sale of silk and gold. Now it is mostly sales of leather goods, and I was agog at what was on offer. Beautiful Italian leather goods, purses, wallets and bags that would make one want to throw out everything they had and start again. It is possible to buy good leather articles from the market vendors but the products in these shops are beautifully displayed and demand one goes in if even only to touch and look.
Then having bought a few things for gits to take home to family and friends, I got the usual bus back. But this time, because of the crush of people on the bus the doors closed before I could get off and I was taken to the next stop. Cries of Basta! Basta! brought no reaction from the driver.
Fortunately, it was a straight and short step back to the area I know. But there is an upside to this – I found a very large pet shop – large as the local supermarket here – where I found a new red collar for the Beautiful Miss Bella adorned with bling. Italians seem to be overly fond of their animals. The entry floor to this shop was filled with rows of different animal food and down below there was all manner of accessories for your pet, aquaria with and without inhabitants, and anything you could want for four-legged or swimming and slithering beings.
So to Day 7 – Sunday
An even later start to this day. I awoke around 8 am. The building was quiet; no voices from other apartments and no road works outside. But it looks as if the serious work is about to begin with these road rollers sitting waiting to be used.
I decided to have an easy day so after a Skype call from home and another tepid shower I started the day with my usual call into the passticerria but as it was now well after breakfast time instead of a brioche I had a lovely apple turnover. The pastry was so light it almost melted in one’s mouth. What a good way to start the day – an apple pastry and a macchiato.
I wandered aimlessly today, people watching and window shopping. The crowds had increased yet again and so there was a panoply of languages to assail the ears. I heard a few words of English but not many, And the lyrical Italian was all around me – definitely music to the ears.
I found the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in a little unimposing building in a side street. Here were replicas of da Vinci’s working models. Unfortunately WordPress is now having a hissy fit and I can’t upload any more photos at present. So I am sorry words will have to do.
Amongst the models was one of a printing press, an armored tank, an olive press, an air screw, a paddle boat and a study of a flying machine. Incredible when one remembers that this was in the 15th Century.
I discovered more interesting door handles, peeps of church spires at the end of small streets, lovely buildings that bear no notification of what they are and of course, more statues. And street art is everywhere, a few beggars and people trailing small dogs with them.
Another walk through the market and then the bus ride back to the apartment and another busy day in this magical city came to an end.
- Falling in Love with Florence (italianamericangirl.wordpress.com)
- How to See Florence in 6 Hours (canongoeseverywhere.wordpress.com)