Crazy Italians – we arrived at our campsite (read resort) to be greeted by about 20 Fiat 500 zipping round the very small drop off zone tooting and following their own individual road rules. Add to that some scooter drivers with a death wish and our coach, we had no idea what had happened to us. It was madness, all the crowd seemed to be wearing their budgie-smugglers in welcome.
Walking around the resort everyone seemed to be wearing Made in Italy shirts and there were Italian coloured garlands everywhere. Children were rushing around covered in foam…we found out a bit later there was a foam party. Thankfully we also found out that it was Italy Day rather than just a casual Italian day.
Enroute to Florence we stopped off to see a certain leaning tower. Apparently once they had constructed 8m of the tower they realised it was leaning so stopped construction. One hundred years later they decided to continue regardless of the lean. In the last fifty years or so there have been various attempts to stabilise it, the most recent involves lead being shot into the ground. I’m still mulling over the merits of this idea. From Pisa we headed to our accommodation which I’ve already told you about.
After staying in our wee twin share cabins Mystery DIY Man is convinced he wants to create a ‘Bach in a container’. Watch this space.
We started our day in Florence with a walking tour by a local guide. He was very passionate and lead us down lots of wee shortcuts. The tour took us to see all the main sights and finished at a leather demonstration. I resisted the urge to blow my budget on jackets and bags. Instead I went off to explore Santa Croce – I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of seeing the huge impressive ceilings. Santa Croce is a Gothic cathedral which houses the tombs of Machiavelli, Dante and Galileo among others.
For some more culture we headed to the old jail and saw a huge amount of the Medici art collection. Then it was off to the Duomo – another cathedral and at one time largest in the world. You can fit 20,000 people in it for a service, and has a very beautifully painted dome. It was quite amusing seeing all the inappropriately dressed girls having to wear ugly blue ponchos.
Lunch..lunch was delicious. We were determined not to pay too much so went off in search of a little back alley restaurant. We were not disappointed. We both had fresh spaghetti (pasta was handmade when you ordered), I had salmon and Mystery DIY Man had pepperoni.
Next stop Ponte Vecchio and Pitti Palace. The best find in this segment was a wee shop that still practises the art of paper marbling. One of the shop keepers gave us a very impressive demonstration. Everytime we thought he was finished he’d just add another layer of complexity to the pattern. Has been the highlight for Mystery DIY Man so far.
Since our tour group us ‘refined’ our tour leader organised for us to go to a family owned vineyard for tastings and dinner. It was a great dinner prepared by the mother, while her very enthusiastic son taught everyone how to taste his wine. Christian, the vinter and son had such an infectious smile even the most unwell people were smiling. The vineyard was in the Chianti wine region in the Tuscan hills. I’m pretty sure I’d be quite happy living up there.