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Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 27-28, 2014, Florence, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – Aix en Provence for the Easter Festival.

Florence – a city we’re ever eager to visit – we’re happy as one of the kids on this carousel to be back!12271401 back in flr happy as a kid on a carouselYes, it’s a delight, even in the light rain, dressed in holiday best. 12271401 delight even in rainThe street artist whose underwater sketches we noticed last time we were here is still leaving his caricatures, holiday themed now.12271401 street art holidayShop windows are full of holiday wonder – these Dolce and Gabbana angels remind me of our nearly-two-year-old  grandson Walter (always angelic, of course!).12271402 angels d & g remind meAfter a restorative nap we’re out on the streets again, and the rain has stopped, leaving shimmering cobbles reflecting the holiday lights.12271402 fave lanesBeside the Duomo a huge Christmas tree glitters with white lights and red fleur-de-lis,12271402 g duomo treeand a simple and beautiful terracotta nativity scene (handcrafted by an Impruneta – a town famous for its terracotta – artisan) beside the entrance.12271402 imprunetaThe upper floor of the Mercato Centrale, a don’t-miss Florence stop on every trip, has been in the news lately. No trace of the simple wooden stands on which farmers hawked their wares, it’s now an upscale food court, open until midnight!12271402 mercato upper food courtIt is jammed at 8:30, and proves a perfect place to get a quick but terrific dinner. We peruse the stands – cured meats, beef, soups, meatballs and vegetables, 12271402 super choicesthe very popular pizza guy from Naples, truffles (that big white one is a mere 330,000 euros – can you believe it?!)12271402 truffle or a house or two chocolates, pastries, the Mercato’s own Panettone,12271402 panettoneand even a branch of Eataly! Choose your meal from a booth, then grab a beer, wine or soft drink from one of the center bars and enjoy. There are plenty of tables and quite a buzz – although Florence is full of tourists at this time of year, we hear mostly Italian here.
On Sunday our Music and Markets tour begins, and Kirk once again gets to show off one of his favorite cities – beginning with the Duomo, marvelling at Brunelleschi’s dome (Kirk’s hands tell a story – of the interlocking terracotta Brunelleschi devised to construct his enormous masterpiece).12281401 brunelleschiThe baptistry is completely covered, as restorative work goes on, but the “Gates of Paradise” Ghiberti’s doors, so dubbed by Michelangelo, are left visible.12281401 exquisite doorsLorri finds a masterpiece of her own, happy to see that the January sales have started early!12281401 sales alreadyCrossing the Ponte Vecchio to the Oltrarno side of Florence, we take a photo break on the terrace of Hotel Lungarno – so kind of them to share it with the world!12281401 smileWhat perfect timing – a glorious sunset backdrops Spring, one of the four seasons on each corner of Ponte Santa Trinita.12281401 springAnd there’s everybody’s favorite bridge – always packed!12281402 bridgeDinner’s at a Florence favorite, Da Giovanni, where Kirk demonstrates his biscotti dipping technique -“don’t let a single drop of this delicious Vin Santo fall on the tablecloth!” 12281402 dessertand we finish with a limoncello toast – 12281402 toastCin-cin!