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Florence Friends New and Old

Florence Friends New and Old

December 28, 2012
Florence, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Next on the itinerary: Our spring tours in Barcelona, Venice or Prague

What’s a good flight? One on which you arrive safely… even better if your luggage arrives too! So our latest flights were good, but we certainly didn’t arrive when expected, at 9 am yesterday. And it took an extra leg to actually get us to our destination, since our long flight across the Atlantic was delayed, but we made it around 5 in the afternoon. We’re glad to settle in to welcoming Rivoli Suites hotel, and appreciate the warm welcome from familiar faces at the front desk.

About 18 months ago we reconnected with old friends, who actually live just a few miles from us in Virginia, via Facebook, and since we’re both in Florence, meet for dinner tonight. This is the the first time we’ve seen each other in around twenty years, and we all agreed that it’s much more fun to meet in Florence than in Virginia. They had introduced us, also via Facebook, to Rachel, seated between Anne and Bruce, who lives in Florence and rents several lovely apartments, one of which we stayed in last year. We enjoyed catching up in person with Bruce and Gloria – perhaps we’ll bump into them again in Italy before we leave.

Our New Year’s Jazz tour begins this afternoon, but first a bit of shopping – some pretty suede flats for me – so many colors to choose from! And a few wines to take home for Kirk (well, I’ll enjoy them too!), followed by a delicious lunch at a tiny rustic spot that Rachel recommended   – love those insider local tips!

Caffé degli Artigiani (Artisans) is on Piazza della Passera, surrounded by the Oltrarno’s narrow lanes filled with craftsman’s workshops. Our plates of delicious pasta were the perfect lunch.

Autumn, one of the Four Seasons gracing the corners of Ponte Santa Trinita, gleams against the deep blue sky as we cross back over the river.

Remember how we loved those Paris Christmas decorations? Well I’ve found my favorite Florence holiday windows – Tiffany’s are so lovely

that I’d like to step right inside the miniature settings.
This is NOT one of our shopping stops today 😉

We meet our Music and Markets guests in the lobby and head out for an introductory walk around beautiful Florence… sidetracked just slightly by the Farmacia Santa Maria Novella across the street from our hotel,

and as we stop in front of the imposing facade of Santa Maria Novella church, we catch a glimpse of the golden lantern topping Florence’s Duomo.

Up close, the red, green and white façade, the colors of the Italian flag,

has us all pulling out our cameras!

Kirk tells the tale of Brunelleschi’s masterwork, the tiled dome, as the creator ponders its beauty in the background.

We say hi to Michelangelo’s David (a replica, the original is in the Accademia museum) in front of the Palazzo Vecchio,

gaze across the Arno from the Uffizi,

 

and stop to enjoy the view of Florence’s signature bridge, the Ponte Vecchio, before crossing the river.

Our loop takes us back across the Trinita bridge, which we crossed earlier today, and we stop at Santa Trinita for a peek at Ghirlandaio’s vivid Nativity – just one of the thousands of glorious gems in this city.

The symbol of Florence twinkles above us as we return to the hotel.

Di Giovanni’s the perfect place to enjoy our first Tuscan meal together, beginning with a Prosecco toast.

Several of us choose the fork-tender Suckling Pig for dinner,

and we finish together with a typical Tuscan dessert, biscotti dipped into Vin Santo,

then walk home under the shimmer of holiday lights.