Monday, February 15, 2016

Our Trip to Italy Part 2: A Full Day of Florence Adventures

If you missed the beginning:
- Part 1: Arriving in Florence

Our first full day in Italy started nice and early.  We woke up to grab some breakfast at Hotel Alessandra before heading out for a full day tour of the city.  We were greeted in the dining room with the cutest cappuccinos.  Breakfast consisted of a typical Italian spread including some delightful baked goods, cheese, prosciutto, hard boiled eggs, cereal, and yogurt.  Dave loved the apple pastry of the day and I adored my croissant.



After breakfast, we left our hotel to discover lots of hustle and bustle in town.  There was a 5K running through all the main attractions of the city, which put an excitement in the air and tons of people on the streets.  We met our tour guide in the beautiful Piazza San Marco.



We booked our tour through a company called Dark Rome and I would highly recommend them!  They were easy to book and very organized on the day of.

The first stop on our tour was the Accademia Gallery, home of Michelangelo's famous David sculpture.  We waited a little while to go in our tour's VIP entrance, but when we left and the line was wrapped around the building, I was feeling very grateful that I had booked a skip the line tour.  Most of the art in the museum did not really appeal to me, but when we turned the corner and the David came into sight, it was breathtaking!


I wasn't sure if we really needed to go to the see the David.  There's a replica in the Piazza della Signoria, I'd read that the rest of the gallery wasn't really anything that exciting, and we had limited time in the city.  But Dave was positive he wanted to see it, so I said sure.  But I am really glad we went!  Pictures truly don't do this sculpture any justice.  It is way better in person!






After we left the gallery, we started a tour around the town.  A lot of the sights were things we already checked out briefly the day before, but it was great to hear all the history and interesting facts.  The streets were so full of people so it was a little tricky to stay with our tour guide, but it also brought an energy to the tour.









I was pretty bummed because our tour was supposed to include a trip inside the Duomo, but since they had a service going on, we weren't able to go inside at all.  The church is just marvelous and I could've sat and stared up at it for hours.  It is truly epic.







The first half of the tour came to an end around lunch time and we had an hour before the second half began to go grab something to eat.  We had planned to check out a highly recommended panini shop, but when we got there the line was wrapped around the block with 5K participants.  I was pretty bummed and we settled on another place on the same block.  The small shop was sorta crowded and I felt intimidated trying to order because the menu was completely in Italian.  I settled on a panini with prosciutto, mozzarella, and a balsamic glaze drizzle and it didn't really wow me.  Dave got eggplant parm that was pretty funny to watch him eat sitting on the curb outside using his crusty bread as silverware.  We drank wine out of plastic cups and watched as pedestrians were almost hit by cars over and over.  People in Italy truly must not be afraid of being hit by a car.



The line got crazy as we were sitting there.  After our bellies were full, we realized we still had plenty of time before we had to meet our tour group.  We headed towards the river and stopped in a bar for a quick drink.  Every place in Italy wants to feed you, because without any prompting they brought out a little spread of snacks with our drinks.  It felt wasteful, but we were so full from lunch that we didn't even touch it.  I tried a sparkling white wine and it came in the strangest little glass.




Soon enough it was time to meet our group.  We found them easily.  After avoiding multiple men selling selfie sticks and other random crap, we were headed into the Uffizi Gallery.








Our tour guide was extremely passionate and very knowledgeable, but also kind of pushy.  The gallery was crowded in certain spots around famous works of art and she was very insistent that we get our time in front of each piece.




The art was beautiful but as the tour went along my feet started to ache and I just started to be over the whole thing.  The museum did have some awesome views though!



When the tour was ending, our guide told us we should stick around and enjoy the museum for a few hours until it closed... and that's when Dave and I practically sprinted out the building!  I was pretty close to smacking the selfie stick right out of this one Asian girl's hand (but seriously do you really need a picture of you doing the duck face in front of every single piece of art?!) and I really just wanted to be off my feet.  We headed back to our hotel room to regroup and spent a little time just decompressing.

After our feet felt enough relief, we headed out the door to go grab a drink and do some people watching.  We ended up back in Piazza della Signoria and picked a random place with great views of the square.






We enjoyed some wine and a pizza as we watched people pass by.  The pizza was good but sort of tasted like something we'd get at home.  We knew the place wasn't going to be anything mind blowing since the sign with pictures of the food and English descriptions gave it away as a tourist trap, but we didn't really care.  We knew we were sitting there for the location and the sunshine that most of the square was no longer getting.  A guy started smoking a cigarette near us, the sun was gone, and we didn't want to eat anything else there, so we decided to relocate.



We ventured across the Ponte Vecchio and found a bottle shop with a super cute balcony over the river.  We asked if they had any tables available and told us only for an hour or so, which was good enough for us, so we sat down.  The views were perfect and there was quite a breeze coming off the river.  We were so happy we decided to check this place out, even just for a little while.






After we enjoyed some drinks, we picked out some bottles of wine to enjoy back at our hotel.  We were told there was a small terrace, but we couldn't seem to find it when we went to look ourselves.  When we got back, Monti was happy to escort us to the terrace and made some hilarious comments informing us that there's a camera up there, so we should keep that in mind before we do anything scandalous!  We sat on the terrace enjoying the sunset, our wine and a small dose of hotel wifi.




Our plan for dinner was to hit a restaurant that was pretty much clear across town.  It was highly recommended by a friend and 1.3 miles wasn't that far to walk.  We started reconsidering it after the Uffizi when our feet were on fire and Monti recommended us a place much closer, but after relaxing and drinking some wine we decided to stick to our original plan.  We walked to Edi House, with Dave growing more and more impatient as I kept insisting we were almost there!  Finally we found the place and found a table in their cute detached outdoor section.  The place was fairly empty, but we did find ourselves chatting with the duo next to us about their travels and how good their food was.



We started with a liter of what Dave deemed the best house wine of our trip!  I guess I liked it too because I got pretty silly as the night went on.

Bonnnjouuuurnoooo

We started with an appetizer of squid with bacon, walnuts, greens, scallions and lemon.  The squid was so tender.  Our next course was spaghetti carbonara, which was so simple yet so good.  For our secondi we went with a mix fried seafood including calamari and shrimp.  We requested a side of marinara sauce to dip it in and it was actually the highlight of the dish with a slight spiciness.  Dessert was a caramel pudding, which was unique and yummy.





Our bill was only 60 euros!  By the time we finished, it was pretty late.  We thought about trying to take a bus home, but we didn't feel super confident about the schedule and decided just to walk.  Dave really wanted to go out and grab a night cap, but the town seemed kind of dead since it was a Sunday night and I was ready to be in bed.


To be continued... Part 3

6 comments:

  1. You always have the best vacation photos! Is it wrong that I think the statue has a nice butt?

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    1. Thank you! And nope, David is looking fine ;)

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  2. Bonnnjouuuurnoooo...
    LOL!

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  3. Italy is on my list of places to go! I hope you are enjoying all the food and sites!

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  4. Glad you enjoyed and we're not disappointed with EDI house. Looks like an amazing trip you guys had!!

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  5. We are delighted that you had a great time at our hotel. Do come back one day!

    Andrea Gennarini
    Hotel Alessandra - Florence

    ReplyDelete

Every comment makes me smile, so keep 'em coming!

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