Since there last, I have remembered Florence as the city that smells like leather and warm waffle cones toasting on the open streets. This time several weeks ago, the air was a bit friskier and the shops not quite so exposed, and yet, the mystery behind the cobbles and closed wooden doors on every alley drew me in yet again. Third time, and still such a charm.
We arrived via train from Nice fairly late our first evening, and queued up for one of what seemed like only three taxis in town. Our driver's clean car barely missed scraping the stones of buildings on each side of the street, as well as the hundreds of people mindlessly walking in the streets. My inner Jersey girl started feeling agitated when he patiently waited without honking for the thick crowds to notice his car and part--and then I came to and realized how much more civilized this really was, and just as effective.
We stayed in the most dreamy hotel ever, the Continentale, and our room stared eye level right at the Ponte Vecchio, the most iconic sight in the city.
In the few days in Florence, we wore our knees tired walking everywhere, and so many times, passed this most magnificent of cathedrals. I think it's the prettiest exterior of any I've seen.
I believe both previous trips to Florence, it was partially scaffolded, and the scale and colors stunned me this time, as if the first ever.
We opened the wide glass panes of our hotel room each afternoon and evening, rested elbows on the sill, and watched the bridge alive in the light.
We didn't bring the camera along in our days of shopping (one to The Mall outside the city and one day covering the uneven streets of Florence), but this is a quick glimpse of the crowds on the bridge
and the shops.
Walker woke early most mornings to catch the sights before the city rose. I'm almost jealous I didn't brave the morning chill to join him.
The hotel's staff were superb in every way, and made constant reservations for us. Our top meal was at Caffe dell'Oro, actually under the same ownership as our hotel. Our oval glass table and rainbowed salads were only the start--and we nearly ate there a second night because it was such as pleasing experience.
Another favorite meal was at Trattoria del Gobbi which my mother-in-law found through the hotel concierge in our search for the best Tagliatelle del Cinguale (wild boar sauce). They had the most insanely creamy mozzarella and tomato pasta and gluten free pasta which was possibly my favorite bite in Italy. Walk tells me the boar sauce was pretty great, too.
One afternoon, we crossed the river for the supposed best gelato in the city, Gelateria La Carraia. I had creme (as vanilla is not a common flavor), and Walker had pear and ricotta. Walking home from dinner, we were near their second location where I found a gluten free cone! Divine (even if I couldn't fit the whole thing) and my in-laws had the delectable chocolate.
Such a delicious and ethereal trip to the most romantic city. We never tire of your personality, Florence. Hope to see you again soon!