We enjoyed the 1.5 hr. train ride from Rome to Florence–like most trains in Europe it was both comfortable and efficient. Our “homeaway” in Florence was a delightful apartment overlooking the Arno River, the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge, and a number of famous landmarks including Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffuzi Gallery, the tower of the Bargello Museum, the Baptistry, and the El Duomo (the famous dome atop the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore).
During our first two days there, we settled in then explored our neighborhood and ventured across the Ponte Vecchio to the historical Old Town. An interesting feature is that high end jewelry stores line both sides of the bridge. Story is that during medieval times it was lined with slaughter houses and meat markets until an influential duke, tired of the smells when he crossed, declared that the meat factories must go and be replaced by stores selling fine jewelry made of gold and silver.
The summer heat was ramping up—including uncomfortably high humidity—so we spent most of our time in Florence venturing out in the morning, taking an afternoon siesta, then going back out in the evening. We enjoyed a lot of gelato cones and cold coffee drinks—“iced coffee” there is a shot of espresso with a scoop of gelato, yum!
Up next: discovering the Piazza del Duomo