Friday, 28 Sept.

We were re-united in Florence this morning, Paul having caught the train back from Bologna, while Anne was delivered to Florence railway station by the French Escapade driver.

We arrived within 15 minutes of each other, and caught a taxi to our new hotel, with the glorious name of Palazzo del Marchese di Camugliano, which is near the Piazza Santa Maria Novella and also close to the river Arno at the Ponte alla Carraia. Being too early for our room to be ready, we headed for a stroll in that direction.

One good reason to cross the bridge is that there's a gelateria on the corner on the south bank, or "oltrarno" (over the Arno). We then headed eastwards through the narrow streets, found a promising-looking restaurant on the way for future reference, and crossed back by the Ponte Vecchio, which is wall-to-wall jewellers, and throngs of tourists, of course.

  • Ponte Vecchio - hardly anything but jewellers.

  • Ponte Vecchio from the north-western side.

  • Our bedroom ceiling

  • Our 'hotel' entrance

Back at our hotel our room was ready. The Palazzo is in fact not a hotel as such, more an up-market, amazing 10-room B&B. Rooms have names, not numbers - we had Alcova, which on their web site is the one looking through curtains to a bath (which we didn't use). The rather murky photo here of our ceiling shows nymphs and cherubs getting up to who knows what!

Another useful fact about the Palazzo, which is Via del Moro 15, is that it is directly opposite no. 48, Trattoria Gargani, so we ate there 3 nights out of 4. The food was OK, the Maitre D' and his team were good fun, lively decor, so convenience won out in the end. Many of the restaurants don't open until 7:30pm (occasionally 7:00pm), and the popular touristy places have queues outside them before then.

The one night we didn't use Gargani we went to Lungarno Bistrot, just across the Ponte alla Carraia, where we had a really excellent meal - good food, good service.

Trattoria Gargani

Today's photos - tap/click to view


Saturday, 29 Sept.

This morning Paul took his camera for a walk, over the Ponte alla Carraia and this time turning right, or westwards, along the south bank of the Arno. The first church he came to had that typical unfinished brick look on the faรงade, but there was a buzz of activity, and emanating from the inside was the sound of applause, cheering, singing ... He had inadvertently gate-crashed the very end of an Italian wedding! The church was Chiesa di San Frediano in Cestello, and it was the wedding of Giulia and Dario. Not the sort of experience you get if you stick to the main tourist routes.

  • Chiesa di San Frediano in Cestello

  • Chiesa di San Frediano in Cestello

  • Chiesa di San Frediano in Cestello

  • Bride and friend

Today's photos


Sunday, 30 Sept.

Our plans this morning were to catch a bus up to Piazzale Michelangelo, a great lookout over the city which had been recommended to us. (We got there eventually, as you will see.) But on emerging from our hotel we were swamped by a mass of runners participating in a charity run, wearing T-shirts in the city colour, purple. The busses weren't running, so we stopped for a while in Piazza Ognissanti (All Saints). Anne sketched Chiesa di San Salvatore while Paul popped his head inside for a few minutes of Mass.

Piazza Ognissanti is directly across the river from San Frediano, the wedding church from yesterday. You don't see its impressive dome when you're up close. You can see the wall-to-wall joggers on that side of the river too.

Then we meandered up through Piazza Santa Maria Novella, and on past the Medici Chapel to the Basilica San Lorenzo, near which there is a street market which Anne wanted to explore. Then on in a big loop via the Duomo and the Chiesa San Michele, finishing at the Croce al Trebbio, at the end of our street.

  • Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognissanti

  • San Frediano, viewed from across the Arno, with some of the many thousand charity runners.

  • Piazza Santa Maria Novella

Today's photos


Monday, 1 Oct.

There are so many fascinating historical public buildings in Florence that one can't give a lot of attention to every one, given the constraints of time and energy levels. But this morning we were drawn to spend quite a bit of time in the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella.

I think this was the first day the weather let us down. Our first few days in Florence had been very warm, but as you can see from the outdoor shot of the cloisters, taken just after midday, it had become dull, and there was even some rain as we headed home, fortunately only 5 or so minutes away.

It cleared up later, though, enough for me to take another walk of exploration in another area of Florence I hadn't seen before, east of our hotel. The photos from that walk were taken on my iPhone, as I had decided to travel light this time.

Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

  • Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

  • Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

  • Chiesa e Museo di Orsanmichele

  • Post Office

Today's photos


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