Posted by: illinigirl | June 7, 2009

Florence–Day 1

Sorry, sorry, sorry for the delay in reporting.  Busy weekend!

After an extremely stressful train experience on Monday morning. . . we arrived in Florence!

We only had a few days here. . . and Monday, museums are closed. . . and Tuesday was our tour of Tuscany. . . so we had to see what we could see on Monday!

We arrived at our hotel and dropped off our stuff. . . such a nice man at the front desk gave us great suggestions and help on everything we needed.

We went to lunch first. . . it was good. . . but we were SO HOT.  It’s difficult to enjoy lunch when you are HOT.  Ugh.  Couldn’t wait to check into my room and get out of my jeans and into my skirt!!!

Florence is beautiful. . . and Liz and I could see immediately that shopping would be necessary!

The main symbol of Florence is the Duomo. . . a gorgeous church inside and out.

The Duomo

The Duomo

Near the entrance

Near the entrance

This is the only picture I took inside because there were no flash pictures here.  I loved these, and lit a candle for Grandpa W. here.

This is the only picture I took inside because there were no flash pictures here. I loved these, and lit a candle for Grandpa W. here.

There were no flash photos inside. . . AND there would have been no way for me to capture the beauty of the dome without a flash. . . so please, please, please check out this link to the picture.  I think the dome is AMAZING. . .

I can’t remember if we did this before or after the Duomo. . . but hopefully it was before. . . because we probably *needed* to pray after this experience. . .

Liz and I decided to make more room in our suitcases by shipping our dirty clothes home.  It didn’t amount to much, but thank goodness we did this. . . as we needed room for all the stuff we bought!

We went to a store and bought boxes for packing and had them prepare them for shipping. . . and then. . . the post office.

WOW, if you think the DMV is hostile. . . ramp this up about ten notches, and have them not speak your language.  It was SCARY!  Liz went first. . . and I went to another counter.  Please note that I didn’t have to pay much. . . nor fill out any forms. . . then I go to Liz’ counter, and her price was 70 euros and she was having to fill out all this paperwork. . . we ended up figuring out that she was shipping “priority” so we changed that. . . but it bugged me that I didn’t have to fill out the paperwork that she did.  Um, was my stuff going to make it through customs?  I tried to ask for one of the forms, and was met with a hostile response.  Oooookay.  Liz and I decided that we probably paid to never see our stuff again and laughed about our experience all day.  (Funny thing is, my box beat *me* home!!!)

Yikes. . . bad memories!

Yikes. . . bad memories!

We spent the remainder of our day wandering around and shopping. . . Florence has excellent leather. . . and Liz and I fell into the purse trap and purchased several cute purses!  It was really fun wandering in and out of different stores.  This is also where I had the excellent granita and cookie!

Even the police officers have “purses”. . . or leather “man bags”, if you will.  🙂



Here is a funny picture, now that I look at it. . . it’s of me petting the wild boar. . . with my bag of new purses. . . with TONS of purses behind me.  Too funny!



Um, Liz. . . we should have done more research!  From wikipedia:

Popular tradition has it that rubbing the nose brings fortune, so that the statue has acquired over time a certain shine in that spot. Visitors are encouraged to place a coin in the mouth of the boar after rubbing its nose, and superstion implies that the wish will be granted if the offering tumbles through the grate whence the water flows. The slope of the grate is such that most coins do fall through, and are collected by the city.

WE DID NOT DO THE COIN THING!  Hopefully, rubbing the snout is enough to gain fortune!  😉

We then stumbled across the Ponte Vecchio. . . a famous bridge lined with. . . gold shops!  This area is referred to as “the street of gold”. . . back in the old, old, old, old days (not sure when, exactly) this was where the meat market was, and it smelled.  This was the main bridge for the dignitaries to cross from their homes to the city building. . . so one of the rulers decreed that the area could only be used for selling gold.  This has stuck for hundreds of years!

Here is what the bridge looks like from the outside. . .

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

Now, I’m mad b/c I didn’t take any pictures down the street!!!  This is one from above, but you can only see one shop window.  There are literally 30 or so shops with huge display windows filled with gold!

Street of Gold from above

Street of Gold from above

Did I buy anything there?  Ummm. . . is the Pope Catholic?  OF COURSE!

I bought this gorgeous Fleur de Lis pendant. . . (well, I bought two. . . one gold, one silver).  The gold one is especially cool.  Here is the picture. . . this is really small. . . about half the size of a dime.

LOVE IT!  Already received a few complements on it. . . so even though it's small and people can't see what's on it, it still must look cool!

LOVE IT! Already received a few complements on it. . . so even though it's small and people can't see what's on it, it still must look cool!

After our shopping, we cleaned up for dinner.  We went to a place that Andrea at the front desk recommended for lunch. . . OH MY GOODNESS. . . phenomenal food and wine.  This was the place with the pasta with asparagus.  I can’t explain why this was so amazing.  It’s seemingly simple, but for some reason, it’s better than anything I’ve ever tasted.  I think all food in Florence is made with love.

On our way out, a couple took our picture. . .

Turns out the couple that took this picture are from Texas and are wonderful people!  We started talking to them and didn’t want to stop. . . but unfortunately, they had to go in and claim our table before someone else took it.  The guy is a college professor who was asked to take a visiting professor spot in Florence.  He had to think approximately one second about his answer to that question. . . and then. . . shortly after, he was diagnosed with cancer, and spent a year in treatment.  He just got a clean bill of health, and the offer was still out there for him to come to Florence. . . so he and his wonderful wife jumped at it!  *Such* neat people. . . I have their contact info, and I’m hoping I meet up with them again when they return to Texas!

Then, we noticed the sunset, and walked around. . . gorgeous night!

so neat

so neat

Hannah and Liz

Hannah and Liz

What a lovely day!  The only bad thing is. . . Florence is not a place for much nightlife!  Everything pretty much starts shutting down at 7:00 p.m., which the exception of restaurants.  This was good there because it gave us an excuse to 1.  STOP shopping.  2. Rest.  🙂



  1. […] Florence–Day 1 (Duomo, Post Office!, Shopping) […]

  2. […] bought 173903174039713 rosaries.  We shipped our dirty laundry back halfway through the trip. . . which is a story all on it’s own.  I’m NOT sure if I recommend this, but it all worked out in the end because we got our […]

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