Saturday, August 1, 2015

24 hrs in Florence

This skyward photo between the stunning buildings and rooftops was my first shot in Florence.  I took this while carrying all of my stuff and speed walking to our hotel trying to take it all in while keeping up with Andy - our height difference causes some issues when I need to keep up and we're in a hurry!  We had been up since before dawn to leave Elba Island, spent three hours on a train, we hadn't had a meal yet and we were both hot and sweaty, ready for a refreshing shower, clean(ish) clothes and FOOD!

When we arrived at our hotel the room wouldn't be ready for another couple of hours so we set out in our travel clothes to find some nourishment.  Preferably of the pasta and wine variety...

I'll eat you heirloom tomato!

And nourishment we did find...

The ever palate pleasing prosciutto and melon with beers to start...

Wild boar ragu over a bucatini-type noodle

Andy got the truffle risotto (my recipe is better, just saying)

The white tee-shirt squad made it out of lunch without splashing any wine or red sauce on ourselves, go us!

With full bellies we headed back to the hotel to shower and change...

Don't you just love horses?  So majestic.  Poor thing had to eat on the job - I wish he was in some shade on a farm rather than tourist central.

Here is photo of the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore number 10 of 1,000.  We walked passed it on our way to everywhere and it is so stunning in real life that I just kept taking pictures of it.  Normally I like to pare down blog photos so it isn't exhausting to view but...look at it!

This was quite a long and not relaxing day!  So we stopped for an espresso (that helped!) and cruised over to the oldest bridge in Florence, Ponte Vecchio...

Ponte Vecchio is one of the few remaining bridge that still has houses and shops on it.  Although this was common practice during the middle ages, I can't get passed how odd it would be to live on a bridge.  I wouldn't want my room to be in the bright yellow one in the middle there, yikes!

If you follow me on Instagram @charlielbl you already saw this but this was the best gelato I had on the trip!

The line at La Carraia was the longest of all the gelato places I visited on this trip so that will tell you something!  I ordered a vanilla chocolate chip and yogurt - yogurt because the bin was half empty so I figured it was popular, but I have to say it wasn't for me, and I LOVE yogurt.  Oh well, maybe I don't love gelato (I know blasphemous) but this trip made me realize just how picky I was about ice cream versus gelato!

The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella -

^^ I liked the turtle holding up his corner of the obelisk of marble from Serravezza (a town in the province of Lucca)

The colors of the blue sky, wispy with clouds were brilliant against the warm facade of the buildings..

We decided to take it easy on ourselves and went across the street to Konnubio for dinner.  It had great reviews and there were a lot of people there - a good sign!

They started our meal with a complimentary vegetable dish that wasn't memorable.  The thought was nice but all I remember is how it didn't taste like anything - vegetables or otherwise.

We ordered the grilled octopus for antipasti...again bland and tough.  Hrm...

For primi we ordered Spaghetti Konnubio - finally something right!  This pasta had ham, strips of chicken and sausage cooked in Chianti, cream, tomatoes, pepper and curry.  Curry is a very general term but I believe this curry was just the jar you can by in your local grocery store.  It was unexpected but really made the dish.  I hope to recreate this at home soon.

For secondi we ordered grilled chicken with rocket, parmesan and balsamic.  It was dinner nine of our trip and we were both ready for something simple like this dish.  Something that we would make regularly at home.

We didn't order dessert but every restaurant insists on handing out Limoncello and I don't like it!  That Limoncello was left untouched but the short bread cookies were outstanding and Andy generously gave me his share of cookies too :)

The next morning, we had tickets to go to the Accademia Gallery to see Michalangelo's David.  I didn't take a picture of the line but, like I mentioned in this post about the Vatican, the line was down the street and around the corner...

The Accademia Gallery is relatively small and the star of the show is obvious...

Although in this hallway there were unfinished or abandoned sculptures by Michelangelo.  It was interesting to see the huge squares of marble with the tiniest chiseled marks in them.  So that's how it is done!  Of course this is how sculptors sculpt, but it was pretty cool to see the creation in action, despite never seeing the finished results.

The David pictures do not and will never do him justice.  The size and proportions are as magnificent as everyone says.  He is a huge sculpture, much larger than any others I've seen, but of course you don't realize that David would tower over them without seeing him up close.  With our short time in Florence, I'm glad this is the one thing that we made sure to book.

After spending a good amount of time admiring the David with everyone else, Andy - the musician - wanted to check out the instruments.  We found a Stradivarius violin...

Caught one last peek at David on the way out...

And did a few more small laps around the city before heading 'home' to Rome...

So it was Fashion Week in Firenze and many of the bloggers that I like were in Florence just a few days before me with Luis via Roma.  I recognized this Dolce & Gabanna dress from Rosie's Instagram...

Andy picked this one out for me...

How fun would it be to take these beauties for a spin?  I love pointy-toed flats...

This "My Little Pony" theme was incredibly creepy...

We had a little time to get lunch before heading to SMN to go back to Rome.  We decided to try our luck with a long line at All'atico Vinaio and it paid off - there was almost no line!  And the guys working there are super fast and don't mess around with getting you in, making your panini and moving onto the next one.

All paninis are 5 Euro, no extra cost for extras just a few rules:

"Don't mix meats!!!  It's a blasphemy"

"Don't mix cheeses, is sandwich no pizza"

IS SANDWICH!  I loved it.

Have I told you of my love for tomatoes?  I asked for tomato spread and fresh tomatoes (mine is on the left) and he gave me a funny look.  But I just can't get enough!  These sandwiches were delicious, fresh simple and a great value.  I highly recommend this place.

After eating what we could of these massive sandwiches, we scooped up our bags from the hotel and headed for Roma on the high speed train.  It was pretty awesome so I took a bunch of videos - it felt like we were flying at 250 km/hr!  See a video here on my Instagram!

We also received this photo from our cat-sitter, our nephew Daniel.  Look at that Jules was being nice for a hot second ;)  We were missing home pretty badly and couldn't wait to get back to LBJ!


  1. These pictures look amazing! I feel like I am there right now! So gorgeous!


  2. Florence really is stunning and you fit so much in!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

    1. Isn't it? I can't wait to go back already :) Thanks for stopping by!! - Charlie


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