We strolled today……..but first stop was a cappuccino and pastry at the excellent Caffe Lorenzo Pasticceria about 4 doors up the road from our apartment. Cappuccino was €1.30 and the pastries were €1.10 each – excellent value!
Our next stop was the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata which had a small market of leather goods and jewellery. The piazza is surrounded by large old buildings with stunning old works of art adorning walls and the area above doorways – art you would normally expect to see heavily guarded in a gallery. We went through an entrance of one of these buildings into an area that was scaffolded and screened for restoration not really knowing quite what we were walking towards….we then unexpectedly entered a beautiful and incredibly ornate cathedral – we were in the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, a minor basilica in Florence which is the mother church of the Servite order.
All routes lead to the Duomo and I wanted to revisit the Duomo, which we did, and we walked all around its perimeter to appreciate and take in its magnifence. We hope to be able to visit inside at some point but the queues are always very long. My trusty guide (Mr L) had a plan so I duly followed, I was informed we were heading for the Basilica di Santa Croce. As we strolled through the Piazza San Firenze I spied an amazing multicoloured pashmina….a brief negotiation and said pashmina was now mine. Mr L then informed me I am only allowed to buy one item a day! Yesterday’s purchase was a multicoloured Italian suede leather belt, what will tomorrow’s be?
The Piazza Santa Croce is home to a huge basilica of the same name. The Basilica di Santa Croce is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, the largest in the world, and is the burial place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and Rossini and many more. We couldn’t go in this morning as Mass was taking place so another one to revisit on another day.
Trusty guide then suggested we head south over the Arno River to Piazzale Michelangelo and up to the top of the hill to get a scenic view back across the city centre. We crossed the river on the Ponte alle Grazie and looked west towards the Ponte Vecchio.
We climbed a hill and then many steps to the Piazzale Michelangelo to take in the view across the city centre of Florence. It was well worth the climb with the Duomo and the Santa Croce dominating the skyline.
We then climbed more steps to the very top of this high point to yet another church, the San Miato al Monte, to take yet another look at the scenic landscape lying below. Florence looks like it is sitting in a bowl surrounded by the Tuscan hills – made me think of Salt Lake City and how that city sits in a valley surrounded by mountains.
The San Miato al Monte is a Romanesque structure with an Olivetan monastery adjoining it. Again we were unable to go inside because it was Sunday and Mass was taking place. We won’t be going back! Mr L was advised to find an alternative route back down so that we could avoid the steps. We weaved our way downwards with the final part down a very steep cobbled path – slightly tricky in flip flops but still better than all those steps! It was now definitely time for some R&R (rest and refreshment) and we found a lovely little cafe for a light lunch – the food was good value but the drinks were a bit pricey so we felt a bit duped 😡
Today’s gelato treat was from Grom, the best gelato shop in Florence – definitely good!
A weary stroll home to meet up with Miss A and Mr D who had been out on their Florence walkabout as well. Siestas for some, blog writing for others……..beers and then off out to the great little trattoria up the road and round the corner which we found last night.
Steps walked = 22,604 / 16.3km