I ended up sleeping extremely well until about 1am…. then I woke again at 3, and at 4. By that point I figured that I was done sleeping. I was trying to figure out what to do this morning until everyone else got up and got moving. Since it was still dark out, I decided I would try to get a great sunrise photo of Florence. I conferred with “Uncle Google” and decided that I would go to the Piazzale Michaelangelo which overlooked the city. I arrived at the Piazzale around 530/600 – not so bad except that the sunrise wasn’t until 7am!. The view was amazing! As it was still dark, and the buildings were all lit up, and I was the only crazy one there! I sat for a while, took some pictures, and listened to the church bells ringing in the distance. Oh my goodness, the view! After waiting for over an hour, the sky started to lighten up a bit and I could see more and more of the city. At one time, I turned in the other direction and saw the most gorgeous sky! I took plenty of pictures! I kept waiting for the sun to peek over the mountains but due to the overcast skies, it went behind the clouds before it could peek over the mountains. After several more pictures of the city, I headed back down the ramps and steps toward the Arno river. I followed along the river and crossed it at the Ponte alle Grazie. I headed toward the Duomo. I had decided to go to the Duomo for daily mass this morning. The mass was amazing. It was held in one of the chapels off the main altar of the church. There were 7 priests and 9 docents (or priests, or monks) serving the mass. The responses and prayers were sung in Latin. The sound of the male voices singing praises, echoing throughout the church just can’t be described. After the service, I headed back to the B&B for breakfast and to meet up with the rest of the family. I found Sondra sitting in the lobby writing in her journal, Randy was up moving about and John was still sound asleep!
After some leisurely time getting everyone up and moving, we walked to the Piazza di Santa Croce. After snapping a few quick pictures of the Basilica de Sant Croce, we took a cab to the other side of the river to the Piazza Santa Spirito near the Basilica di Santo Spirito. It was a lovely little piazza with many vendors around selling everything from toys and jewelry to clothing, intimates, and shoes. We wandered around the small fountain there and stopped at a cafe for a cup of morning cappuccino. We made our way over the the Piazzo de Pitti, and into the Palazzo Pitti to visit the Boboli Gardens. There were some beautiful views of the city from the gardens. We all headed in different directions in the gardens – they were very steep and hilly in parts – before we met up again and made our way out. From the gardens, we found another taxi to go back across the river back to the Piazzo dello Signoria for lunch. I have to say that my Italian is getting a little bit better. Most of the taxi drivers we have met so far have spoken quite a bit of english – I think more so in Rome than Florence – but this driver didn’t know any. In my very broken and fairly badly pronounced Italian I was able to tell her (so she could understand me) where we wanted to go – and also that my family was waiting on the next corner! I was impressed with myself! From the Piazza della Signoria, we walked over to the Ponte Vecchio to ogle the jewelry – and to say that we had been there! We walked back past the Piazzo dello Signoria and up the Via de Calzaiuoli which is another street filled with shops. We stopped along there for a gelato – this time I had pineapple. I am kind of glad that we are walking so much so that I can enjoy the gelatos! Or perhaps I should say that I am enjoying the gelatos because I am walking so much – after all, I don’t want to say that I lost weight while on vacation! We made it back to the B&B and are enjoying a very nice rest before our dinner reservations tonight.
- Italy: Rome to Florence
- Day 5: Florence to Moricone