Italy: A Love Story, Day Five

June 11, 2014
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Today in Italy we had big plans.  Today was the day we would be visiting the Duomo, the Galleria where we would see David, the David, and the Uffizi,  aside from the Louve it is probably one of the most renowned art galleries in the world.  Big day.  Yet again, this trip was also about relaxing and we wanted to make sure we had the chance to enjoy our last day in Florence.

Here’s the thing about Florence, well, Italy in general, you are literally walking through these narrow old streets and then shabam! You walk into a square and are astonished to find a wonderful church, piazza, statue, etc.


It’s one of the best things about Italy, there’s always a surprise around each corner.  So, that is exactly how you experience the Duomo.  You walk right around a corner and there it is, huge and spectacular, awe inspiring.  Cristiana said you can see it from any high point in the city.  I think Florentines love the Duomo as much as those coming to visit, and for good reason.  The place is magnificent!  Here are some shots outside…

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And some inside…

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Probably one of my favorite churches was part of the Duomo called the Baptistery.  It’s stunning inside.  It seems to be covered in gold and it’s really beautiful the way the light moves around.  Even the floors are beautiful.

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And this is the bell tower which is very tall and did I mention I was afraid of heights?  Did I  mention that my husband is terrified of heights?  I was quite shocked that my husband said he wanted to attempt it, I wasn’t sure I was ready to.  He did attempt it, but wasn’t able to make it very far, I wasn’t able to make it much farther, only to the second lookout before I had quite a panic and quickly scurried my way back down.  Here are some of the shots I was able to get before that…

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After that tramatic experience I was in much need of a gelato, a daily ritual.  Here are our rules when it came to food it Italy, I think I may have mentioned these before, 1. No English if at all possible, 2.  Absolutely no pictures of the food, and 3.  No mention of things that Americans think are Italian, but actually aren’t, fettucine alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, etc.  These rules also applied to gelato and our other specific gelato rule was that if the gelato in the shop was piled high and wasn’t served in containers in lids it was a no go.  I know it’s a weird rule and the piled stuff looks really yummy, but it actually isn’t as good as the other stuff, it’s been whipped and is more sugary and isn’t authentic.  I know, we’re total snobs.  Trust me on this one, if you search for food with these rules you will eat the best food and often will be the only foreigner in the joint.  Spectacular.  So, anyway, we happened to find a wonderful gelato place…

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Yum, right?

We also wandered around into a few shops along the way…

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Because it was our last night in Florence we wanted to make sure we ate good that night.  There’s a local restaurant here in Portland called Gilda’s owned by a chef named Marco who used to live and was trained and worked in Florence.  We know him through another friend and he had given us some wonderful recommendations.  We decided to choose one that night and headed out.  I wish I could remember the name of the place, but it was close to Ponte Vecchio.  Marco used to work in this kitchen and had told us to tell the owner hi.  The place was tiny and yet they had somehow crammed about 15 tables in there.  It was packed with Italians and a Korean couple who sat next to us.  I think they may have been on their honeymoon and because they didn’t speak English they kept showing the waiter photos of what they wanted from a well worn book.  It was really endearing.  The waiter was very patient with both them and us and Vince and I coined him “the waiter with kind eyes”.  The food there was divine and because it was our last night in Florence and because the food was so wonderful we ate every course.  In Italy that’s about 5.  We were stuffed and about 3 hours later waddled our way back to Marco and Cristiana’s to plop ourselves into bed while visions of papperdelle and wine danced in our heads.