Eliza and I are back from Tuscany. We spent a couple of days in Florence before continuing on to Siena and some of the hilltowns in the south.
Because one should have a view upon one's first visit to Florence...we almost got one. Our hotel, south of the Arno, about a block from the Ponte Vecchio, right next to Pitti Palace, had rooftop terraces with lovely views of Florence's city scape and of the Boboli Gardens (alas, not of the Arno).
The rooftop terrace proved to be a sanctuary, as Florence is, erm, a bit busy and crowded in high season, it turns out. It was amazing to be sitting a stone's throw from urban chaos and instead be listening to birds singing. Below is the scene on Ponte Vecchio, about a block from the hotel:
Views along the Arno:
We spent a lot of time people-watching. Here's the view from lunch over in Santa Croce:
And sitting in the Piazza della Signora, we were visited by some...unique tourists:
Apparently Italian restaurants have to serve you some food if you're drinking. They presented the following selection when we ordered a glass of wine:
And yes, those are corn nuts. I know.
The gelato, however, speaks for itself:
It turns out Florence is a fashion center, the home of Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo (or however that's spelled) and Roberto Cavalli. It even has fashion police: (get it? fashion police? ...never mind)
But here's some men's fashion for you. I liked these suits:
Ferragamo occupies a full block of Florence, in a beautiful building. I appreciated the juxtaposition of the sacred and the profance: