Our server told us about local street artist Clet Abraham and told us to look for his studio nearby.
Finally refuelled, we stopped in the cutest store ever to grab some fruit. Up until this point, which was our third day in Italy together, we had basically been surviving purely on carbs, prosciutto and wine. I have never been so happy to see a piece of fruit!
Happy with full bellies, we ambled up the winding roads past the tower and when we spun around near the top, we were wowed by this view. Not sure what we expected, but it was an amazing scene from Piazzale Michelangelo.
This is the wall outside of Clet Abraham's studio, but it was after hours and closed at this time.
We found a table outside to enjoy a few glasses of wine and prosecco at a little bar in San Niccolo, just steps from here.
The next morning, we wandered over the river to the city centre of Florence. Being the types that book very last minute trips and do little to no research before arriving some place, we didn't know what we would encounter. I kind of like to travel this way. I mean, I don't want to miss those "must sees" but I really like to just see how the day unfolds on its own. First stop was Ponte Vecchio. I had heard of this place before (not sure how... probably a random trivia question) but had no idea that it was a bridge lined with several little jewellery shops!
Each little shop had windows full of shiny things and a stunning picture window at the back. The view from the outside of this bridge sure did not reveal that these little sparkling boutiques were hidden inside.
This was the simplest, best and most memorable meal we had in all of Italy. Yes, it is more carbs and prosciutto but every ingredient so fresh and delicious. I'm salivating just looking at this photo.
Grabbed the sandwich from these guys at Il Frattelini. My darling customer and now friend, who is a frequent traveller to Italy, recommended the place. You order at the counter of this hole in the wall and join the other patrons perched on the curb nearby. Everyone was enjoying their sandwiches and perhaps a beer or glass of wine. We chatted with some other imbibers and contemplated a second sandwich, but resisted! I wish the restaurant licensing and liquor laws were more lax here in Canada. Would love to be able to do this at home. It is such a pleasant experience and everyone is responsible.
Next we visited the Uffizi. I had always heard of the Uffizi, especially being a former art student, and was pretty excited to finally be here! (Tip: It's best to pre-book your tickets if you don't have the time to endure the long line ups to most galleries and touristy spots. You can do this online or on location.)
'Primavera' by Sandro Botticelli
Caravaggio's 'Head of Medusa' was another highlight.
Found our way to our dinner reservation at Ristorante del Fagioli, a long running family operated restaurant.
We had to try the Steak Florentine. I mean we were in Florence! It looked more overwhelming when they brought out the raw steak for our inspection. The two of us polished it off, no probs!
After dinner we took the long way back to San Niccolo to walk off the big meal and passed by Ponte Vecchio again. It was a completely different scene, now emptied of the flood of tourists and little jewellery boîtes literally shuttered. I wish I could have this set up for my booth when doing craft shows.
The next day we decided we couldn't come to Florence and not see David -- THE David. So after many distractions and detours, we found our way to the Gallerie dell'Accademia to scope him out.
Stunning space with more amazing frescoes. Just amazing.
Three hours later and close to 10pm we found a spot! Delicious. Outside, the square was bustling with hip young locals. I'm officially old -- I just said "hip young locals!" Many groups of friends has grabbed pizzas from the nearby wood-fired oven pizzeria and gathered outside with a bottle of wine. If we hadn't just walked for forever, I would have happily done this! After dinner we joined the crowd that surrounded a few couples as they skillfully swing danced. Loved the energy here.
We both constantly admired the doors and ringer bells in Italy. On our last morning in Florence, we said goodbye to our home for the last few days and headed to the train station. Next location would be our chance for a little relaxation and some time away from the hustle bustle. On to Cinque Terre!