Firsts in Florence

26 August 2010

Days 30: Florence - Thursday, July 1st
Immediately after stepping off the train, I was in love. Florence is the kind of city I could live in forever. It's a beautiful city with lots to offer, but it's not overwhelming like Paris or London. I love the atmosphere, the people, the sites, the entertainment and especially the gelato. But what I love most about Florence is that you can still see the beautiful green and lush landscape of Tuscany beyond all of the sites. It's the best of both worlds.

We took a sleeper train from Vienna to Florence. It was very packed, fairly uncomfortable and extremely hot, but aside from those complaints the views were spectacular. We passed through the Austrian Alps and the Austrian countryside was absolutely beautiful. I wish we would've had time to visit Salzburg! I'm sure it is just incredible. I'll be sure to add it to the return trip itinerary...

Heather, Holly and I arrived in the early morning, around 6 a.m. The three of us booked a private room with a private bath at Leonardo House, which is owned and operated by Leonardo and his uncle, Leonardo! They were great hosts! In fact, they even gave us their cell phone numbers so we could contact them at any time. The house was very close to the train station, which was convenient for our day trips, and it was just a few steps from a quiet piazza where old men frequently entertained couples with delightful accordion music. (Those accordions made the Italian experience truly authentic!)

Finally, we could put our summer dresses to use! Holly and I packed our bags based on weather from two weeks prior to our trip. Every city had great weather! But as soon as we landed in Europe, we had nothing but cold spells through Budapest. We were relieved to slip on some comfy dresses and ditch our fleeces for the remainder of our trip.

Our first day in Florence was spent wandering the streets of Florence, popping in and out of quaint shops. We stood in awe under the Duomo, unsure of how to take in the view. The intricate detail and breath-taking beauty left us absolutely speechless.

We strolled through the San Lorenzo market, eying a few leather goods we'd like to check out before we leave for Rome. And our impulsive shopper ways encouraged us to treat ourselves to a few scarves.

But not even a labyrinth of shops and excess Italian leather purses could make me as happy as the incredible site that is Ponte Vecchio. It was amazing!

A colorful line of mix-matched shops strung together along the side of an arched bridge overlook the Arno River. The rich blue water and the soft blue sky join at the horizon, creating the most outstanding view among the distant Appenine mountains. It was absolutely stunning. 

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