Firenze è molto divertente!

Trip Start Jun 03, 2012
Trip End Jun 14, 2012

Flag of Italy  , Toscana,
Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bonjourno! Today has been an extremely busy, fun-filled day. We left the hotel at 8 AM and returned from a late evening at 12:30 AM. The day started with breakfast in the lobby where we enjoyed fresh fruit (sweet watermelon, apricot slices, kiwi, and oranges); pastries; deli meat and cheeses; eggs; and much more.

We then traveled by foot to the Piazza della Republica, where Florence's entry gate is located. The enormous gate hovers the entire city with the arch leaving room for a wide view of the departing piazzas. Around this area, we traveled to Florence's government buildings and toured the local shopping centers. Because it was still early morning, several vendors were setting up shop and hanging their leather good racks around their shopping carts. The markets or pavilions are beautiful and the stone pillars are carved with a careful, artistic hand. This shopping/vendor center is where we also visited the Florentine pig statue; myth holds that good luck will be passed onto those that drop a coin in its mouth and rub its nose.

We then visited the Uffizi Gallery. There were several pieces of religious art located in this popular museum; however, the most entertaining part of this experience was what occurred prior to entering the museum. While waiting in lane, a homeless woman was walking through the line, literally begging (almost physically harassing) for tourists to give any spare change or euros. Before even reaching into my pocket to check for change, the elderly woman stated that she loved me (don't be fooled- it was a statement that she also passed on to the preceding 5 tourists). After some hesitation, I decided to give her a euro, and she was overjoyed. She blessed me and proceeded to kiss my forearm. (Audrey, a strong Christian in Christ, gave her 10 euros because she felt led to do so, a respectable, generous move). Later in the evening, Ms. Santee (a native Albanian), informed us that all "homeless beggars" are not to be believed; she said that they return to their home in the evenings after playing their trickery on the streets- essentially, never give to the poor. No matter the case, Audrey's generous move is still respectable and may have truly blessed the lady either way. Cheers to her and the other givers!

After touring the 2 floors of the Uffizi Gallery, we entered the most popular museum in the Tuscan area, the Pitti Palace. The experience is indescribable due to the magnitude, depth, and detail of the frescoes/paintings located inside the palace. The palace belonged to the Medici family in the 1400s, an enormously wealthy Italian family. The pictures will have to convey the experience since words will do no justice. The palace is exceptionally large with each room almost toppling a typical American household. The palace contained more rooms than even possible for entertaining guests with. One of the most impressive sights of the palace was the garden surrounding the area. Entry to the garden was an additional ticket fee; those that visited it were beyond impressed and found a unique view of the entire city.

After the Pitti Palace tour, we were on our own for the afternoon and were to return around 6:30 for dinner at a local restaurant. During this time, we split into groups and explored the Tuscan area. The Ponte Vecchio area was breathtaking with the Tuscan rolling hills, trees, and Fiume Arno (river below the Tuscan bridge/food and shopping center). We ate at a Tuscan restaurant where we all mostly ordered authentic pizzas. The margherita pizza was fired in a wood-burning oven, crunchy on the outside with a soft, runny inside. The pizza itself was cooked well; however the sausage was completely underdone. When I politely asked the Italian waiter/semi-owner to return the sausage to the frying pan, he was nonetheless insulted. He stated, "Dats-a perfectly good! Ees the Italian way! You are een Eetaly- not Africa!" he provided us a few good laughs- apparently he thought I was from Africa.

After lunch, we attempted to ride a canoe in the Fiume Arno, the river right below Ponte Vecchio (where we walked and previously ate). After finding out that the canoeing was solely for private residents, we explored our other adventurous options. We first found gelato (very refreshing with fruit pieces in every bite). On the way back to the Pitti Palace, I found a Segway rental shop and had to tell the group. They were as easily stoked and jumped on the idea of exploring Tuscany on Segway immediately. The Segways were definitely the highlight of the day (video attached)- a few close encounters to death with the narrow piazzas/crazy Italian drivers but fun no matter what

After the hour on the Segways, we returned to the Pitti Palace and visited the modern art gallery. We then walked by foot back to the hotel for dinner (approx. 30 minutes). After meeting the entire group, we traveled by foot again to the restaurant where spaghetti and caprese salads were served. After dinner, we toured the city by night and visited the Piazza Della Republica, where Florence's enormous entry gate is located. This was the center of the city where most of the nightlife was located. After watching a hilarious comedian in the center of the street (video attached), we then rode the carousel and had some drinks at a local restaurant. A fun night, for sure.

Since morning will be here soon, I must depart. Until tomorrow! Buononotte!
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Zenhessi on

You're a good writer Nick! I feel like I'm reliving being there through your blog entries oh, and your pictures are awesome!

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