Venice to Florence, Day 6 Italy

We left in the wee hours to make our train to Florence. As we pulled our suitcases to the vaporetto stop, and Bill carried them over small arched bridges, it was just us, in that time just before dawn when everything is still. A little mist and sort of a quiet, comfortable time to feel one with our surroundings. The old buildings seemed friendly and comfortable and kind, just like the people.

We discovered the Italian coffee bar "institution" at the train station. It is a long curved bar where one walks up and orders the coffee drink of choice and stands there and drinks with other patrons. We came to love these bars and found them everywhere.

First class on the Eurostar was very nice and definitely the nicest train of our trip. Bill and I sat facing each other, next to the window with a table between us. Next to us were two young teachers from Korea, with whom we enjoyed visiting. The seats were plush and reclined a bit. We were offered Italian newspapers. A couple times a man came around with complimentary beverages and chocolate torte cookies which Bill loved. We also had coffee, juice, and acqua frizzante (sparkling water).

The ride was very pleasant with interesting scenery, and in less than three hours we were in Florence!

Our hotel, Il Caravaggio, was 5-6 blocks from the train station up Via Nazionale. This was one of our two favorite hotels of the trip and in an incredible location. The staff was ultra professional and friendly at the same time. We were across the street from Piazza Indepenza, and close by along our street you could find a laundromat, an internet caf←, and wonderful little luncheon places with enticing pastries. We were within easy walking distance of the street market and all the sites.

At 2 p.m. we had reservations at the Uffizi Gallery which, I had read, has the greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere. To get there we needed to walk through the outdoor market which is the longest street market I have ever seen—blocks and blocks—lots of leather jackets, purses, belts, and cashmere scarves. However, we were on a mission, not exactly sure of where we were going, and so we couldn’t really stop to inpsect the booths. I think Bill had a little smile of relief about that!

At the Uffizi, we rented audio-guides and were moved by the many works of Giotto, Leonardo, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, Titian, Michelangelo, and Boticelli, including his Birth of Venus.

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