Since we spent the least amount of time in Italy, Im only going to do one post. As the other blog posts from Chelsea may have mentioned, we freakin’ loved VIENNA. Accordingly, we decided to cut Rome out of our Agenda and stay 4 days in Florence before heading to Interlaken, Switzerland.
To backtrack a bit, originally we were supposed to leave for Italy on the 5th, but we missed our train and the only other possibility was leaving that night. I emailed our hotel in Florence, Hotel Tourist Ricci, and asked them to move our four nights back a day. I need to give Ricci a great review because he moved our days back with no problem and no charge.
Anyway, we took the night train and had some good company from 4 Austrian/Australian girls. Yeah, you read it right. Strange accents. Drank some Jäger and they were probably making fun of us Ames the whole time. We arrived in Florence the next morning around 7:30 and waited in the McDonalds with our packs until we could check in at 8:30. Hotel Ricci was technically a Bed and Breakfast because it was a detached apartment in what seemed a newly vacated business building. And we had a little balcony facing the Doumo. AND WE FINALLY HAD AC! We froze ourselves the first night and it was amazing.
Wine and Grub. I don’t think I need to spend much time re-iterating how damn good the food and wine was. I definitely gained ten pounds eating pasta and drinking the house Chianti. The only problem was that it was the record high heat. Everything is made out of stone and if the road seemed like it was some kind of lava rock (a black stone?) that just held all the heat throughout the day. So 15 minutes after walking through massive walls of people you were dripping in sweat. Following the Lonely Planet Guide, we ate Gelato at least once every day. The trick is finding the good spots. So apparently there is a technique to finding good gelato.
Finding Good Gelato
1. Bypass the Road Stands
2. Mounds of Gelato = it’s probably not very fresh
3. The color should reflect the actual color of the flavor. No super bright iridescent yellow for Banana.
4. Has to have metal buckets. Most places have picked up on this though.
5. Doesn’t have mass produced flavor identifiers. This means that they don’t make their own Gelato in house.
For the real deal check out Grom.
Leather Shops / Stands. If you are in Florence you have to check out the leather stands. Piazza San Lorenzo is one block that is always stacked with little leather shops. We picked out some presents for friends and I got myself a nice bag for school. They wouldn’t haggle with me as much I thought they would. They probably just knew I was a sucker. This is a must do if you are in Florence. Prices are good too.
Museums….yeah we didn’t go to any. In July, everything is packed and the lines / queues are really long and disorganized. We had been to so many museums in Germany and Vienna that we were just happy walking around. We did walk through the Doumo though (Free). It is absolutely stunning and huge! It took over 150 years to build it. The new colors are different from the original colors as you could imagine. Enjoy the pictures below and I may made add something when the wine memory isn’t in full effect.