I started the day late, and headed over to All'Antico Vinaio, my favorite sandwich spot in Florence. I could eat there every day, and I'm going to have trouble finding a replacement for it once I'm back in B-town. The ingredients are so fresh, and you can see the men delivering the freshly baked focaccia from their shop across the street. Today, I had fresh focaccia, cheese spread, eggplant spread, salame Toscana, fresh tomatoes, and olive oil. Warmed up, this sandwich is pure heaven!
I then headed across the Arno (stopping for frutti di bosco gelato of course) and walked up to the Pitti Palace. I have an Amici Degli Uffizi card, so I can get free tickets for all of the state museums and gardens for the whole year. I walked up to the Boboli gardens and took some pictures. There were a lot of people walking around, laying in the sun, or picnicking in the shade. It was too crowded and noisy for me to sit and read Frances Mayes', so I made the trek over to the Bardini Gardens, which is much harder to find and further away from Boboli. These gardens are serene, and they offer really comfy wooden benches that boast a gorgeous view of the city. I found a bench overlooking Florence, saw Piazzale Michelangiolo to my right, and ended up falling asleep for about an hour. I must have looked like a sight, lying sideways on the bench and sleeping when I could have been marveling at the breathtaking view! I stayed here for about 3 hours, reading, napping, reading, and more napping. The bells of Santa Croce woke me up, and I caught a short video of them ringing toward the end of their "concert." The dissonance and rhythm of those bells is something that literally slows down my pulse and helps me realize that I'm in a very, very special place.
I had a Tuscan home-cooked meal tonight. Francesco and Loredana invited me over to their apartment for dinner. We had pork, Tuscan-style, spiced with salt, rosemary, and garlic. Spinach and mashed potatoes were delish, and we downed a bottle of Chianti Classico. We had great conversation, and I got to play with the bambini again.
This trip is exactly what I needed! I have my friend Madelyn coming over tomorrow for three days, so I get to play Tour Guide again. I love this! She only has 2.5 days, so we are going to wake up early and see the entire city. Madelyn and I met while we were playing at the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival last summer in NYC, and she's traveling through Florence en route to a clarinet convention in Assisi. Looking forward to taking her to Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio, Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, Accademia, Piazzale Michelangiolo, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce, Sant'Ambrogio, and San Lorenzo market. It's going to be a fun time for us gals in Firenze this week!
View of the south side of Florence of the hills of the Boboli Gardens
South side view- check out the castle!
I don't know anything about that castle- will do some research tomorrow.
Top of Boboli Gardens
There's Mickey in the distance.
View of the city from Boboli Gardens
Entrance of Bardini Gardens