Firenze – Just Arrived

May 6

I just arrived in Firenze after a smooth and easy first class train ride on the fancy EuroStar from Rome. It took just 90 minutes and I was almost able to finish up some work (almost!).

The gorgeous Florentine taxi driver drove me across the Arno and down various tiny stone streets to deposit me at the Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio. I’m about 10 steps from the Ponte Vecchio on a quiet side street (well, quiet for Florence) and I have a balcony with a view over rooftops to the Palazzo Vecchio tower. The view isn’t quite as stunning as I had hoped but the room is  renovated and spacious with all mod cons. On the 6th floor is a terrace with better views of Florence where I shall retire to for my pre-dinner Spumante.

Yes, it’s a tough life.

First impressions of Florence–much more medieval feeling than Rome which felt more 19th Century perhaps because I was staying in the posher area rather than right down in old Rome. Lots of people on vespas (or course) and also bicycles. The taxi driver passed a very stylish business man in his suit riding his bike while talking on his cell phone.

During all three of the taxi drives I’ve had so far, the drivers are constantly on the phone which is cool because I get to listen to Italian. I notice the drivers say ‘ciao’ multiple times when they sign off a call. This last driver actually said “Ciao, ciao, ciao, ciao”  which rather reminds me of the double Ooh la la’s you hear in France.

Time for lunch now. The lady at the desk recommended a place nearby that is apparently not too touristy. I am on the other side of the Arno from the main sites which I think will be a bit more relaxing.

I have the Uffizi at 3 but other than that today is for wandering and shopping and eating. The weather is glorious – about 28 degrees with blue, blue skies. Tomorrow the forecast is rain so I’d better get the good shots of Florence today.

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