Florentine Charm

Finally a city we really like.

Sydney and I have been avoiding big cities in Italy. We had a bad experience in Rome. Florence, however, turned out to be pretty cool. Manageable crowds, manageable prices, lots of good food, beautiful vistas, lots of local crafts.

One of the really interesting things in this city is the variety of painters and paper makers. Incredible stationary, cards, pens, etc. Also leather. An incredible variety of briefcases and handbags.

On the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge over the Arno river that has a variety of jewelry merchants, one can find just about any type of jewelry at any price you can’t afford.

Of course we’ve had some terrific food. I got to experiment a little bit with some local cuisine. The lampredotto is a florentine sandwich made of the 4th cow’s stomach, cooked with tomatoes, onions, and other herbs and spices. This meal was traditionally eaten by florentine peasants and is still a local favorite.

We ordered out of a food truck that was clearly popular with the locals. Here’s the guy chopping up some stomach.

And then there’s the wine.

We’ve found a really neat wine store similar to the one I used to go to in Venice. There are a bunch of wine containers and you simply choose which sounds best, give 2 or 3 euro to the lady at the counter and she fills up your bottle.

Then there’s the duomo. This cathedral is a bit of a sensory overload. It is so large and pretty and colorful and textured it is difficult to take in personally as well as to fit into a picture.

I need to find a better angle to photograph this thing. It’s stunning.

More to come, including lunch…

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