I was going to put this in Italian, but the details would probably get lost in translation.
We finally made it to Italy. Got in late and the closest restaurant was a “Wild West” steak & burger place a la Texas Roadhouse. Go figure!!
First stop, Florence. Just walked around and immediately got caught up in pure Italy. For us, it is a vacay away from the RV and touring the USA or diving in the Caribbean.
The first trend you see, is every statue is naked. Very naked. In four days, I saw more penises than in the locker room at the Pine Hills Athletic Club on a rainy Saturday morning.
One of those “things” I do when I am entering a hospital for work is look at the corner stone to see if I am older than the building… Sometimes the reality is the building is decrepit, and is STILL younger than myself! I was feeling pretty good in Florence. I am thousands of years younger than those buildings!!!!!! (Although they were in pretty good shape).
We took a walking tour and the history (buildings) went back to the Romans and Byzantines. We were shown an understated grate on the sidewalk (one of the pics) that had stairs leading down to Roman chambers. They found it by a flood in the 1700’s where a kid fell through the Piazza into the room.
The city was built around the “Palaces”. The Medici family, who were not only filthy rich but also hugely influential in being patrons of the Arts and built most of Florence, were bankers (and physicians) and started it in the 1100’s with their Palace. Then it was a race over generations of “Size Does Count”. The bigger, taller, more elaborate demonstrated status. They would try and kill the family that built a larger Palace. Florence became the “hub” for quite a while until it shifted to France and England.
The picture of a bridge was built in 1333. A couple of the bridges in Florence were wiped out in WWII by the Germans to keep the Americans from advancing. I was always impressed with the Pilgrims landing in 1620.
Michelangelo, Galileo, Botticelli, Da Vinci (not the movie, the real one), the list is just unbelievable and walking from place to place in Florence gave us a first-hand experience of it all.
More frequent history, we even stood in the very spot where the Italian Mafia exploded a bomb just off a famous Piazza della Signoria in 1993 killing 6, wounded 26 and damaged famous artwork in the Uffizi Museum.
With the guidance of baby boomer friends who’ve been before, our days in Florence included a walk, stop, drink wine, walk, stop, go in a basilica, walk, stop, eat drink some more wine, prosciutto and melon, walk, stop more wine.
Phase II of Italy. On the road to the countryside of Siena.. The plan is to drive, stop, visit a vineyard, drink and eat, drive, walk through small country towns, eat and drink some more, rinse and repeat several times. See a pattern developing…….
Off to drinking Chianti, Prosecco, Sangiovese, & eating prosciutto, pasta, & the finest cheeses in the country – starting in Siena!
On to Siena and wine country. I think it just keeps getting better.