Florence

Oh man. Got back from Italy and turned around to fly to the U.S for work for a week. Just getting around to posting this…. better late than never 🙂

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The second half of my trip to Italy with the girls was spent with a day trip to Siena and then in Florence.

Accommodation: We stayed three nights at the cutest two bedroom Airbnb apartment (Condotta Suite 14 Piazza Signoria) in Florence right in the heart of the city. If anyone finds themselves going, I’d highly recommend staying here! Alessandro, our host, left us a bottle of Chianti and did a thorough job of introducing us to the apartment and the city, complete with restaurant recommendations and he even called a taxi for the girls to get to the airport the morning of their departure.

The living room of our Airbnb


Eats
:

Traveling to Italy is 50% about the food, right? We definitely continued to eat well.

Wednesday lunch in Siena was at Il Pomodorino, which had an incredible view of the city and fantastic pizza. A Rick Steve’s recommendation (surprise, surprise).

View from lunch at Il Pomodorino in Siena

Wednesday night upon arrival we headed over to Fishing Lab for dinner, which had been recommended by our Airbnb host and specialized in fresh fish. Their dining room was a level below in the historic cellars. It was fantastic.

Our fish for dinner. The bottom was Jenny’s salt encrusted sea bass. These were sooo darn good.
My sea bass for dinner at the Fishing Lab

Thursday lunch: We walked over to the Mercato Centrale – an indoor food market with Italian food to appease all taste buds.

The dining area of the Mercato Centrale, ringed with food vendors and bars.
My bruschetta trio along with a fresh salad and salami at the Mercato Centrale.

Thursday dinner: Il Santo Bevitore – a recommendation from friends and also our Airbnb host and Rick Steves. This place had a really amazing ambiance and the food was incredible.

Friday lunch: We got sandwiches at the very popular All’Antico Vinaio. These are each EUR 5, made with freshly sliced meats, cheeses, roasted vegetables and other toppings all on freshly baked focaccia.

Friday dinner: All’Antico Ristoro di Cambi. The goal was to go somewhere with Florentine steaks for the girls. Below is 1.5 kg of steak shared amongst three!

My main course, an artichoke stuffed with something like a meatball

Oh. And of course the gelato:


Activities:

We did a lot of wandering and site seeing, especially guided by our faithful Rick Steves.

On Wednesday during our drive north from Montepulciano to Florence, we made a stop in the city of Siena to tour the town. Siena was half way between Montepulciano and a great recommendation if you have an afternoon to wander.

The unfinished walls of the cathedral
The cathedral in Siena. Love those stripes!

On Thursday we took a guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery in the morning followed by a Rick Steves walking tour of the city in the afternoon.

Me, Jenny & Maddy in front of the Ponte Vecchio
Reflections on the Arno river
The city hall


In the early evening we took a break from touristing and Jenny, Maddy & I got a table at the Continentale Hotel’s rooftop terrace bar, La Terrazza right on the Arno river to take in the skyline for sunset and have some pre-dinner cocktails. It was so nice to relax together to just chat and take in the scenery, especially since I don’t get to see them often.

 

View from the rooftop bar of sunset over the city skyline

On Friday we got in line first thing to walk up the 400+ steps to the top of the Duomo.

Florence’s Duomo
View from the top of the Duomo

Afterwards, we walked the city a bit more to see the Sante Croce and the Santa Maria Novella.

 

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Taking a pit stop to rest in front of the Basilica di Santa Croce

 

Santa Maria Novella

Before dinner we bought a bottle of Italian prosecco and walked up to the top of a nearby hill to watch the sunset over the city from Piazza Michelangelo. A couple of guitarists had set up to play music and everyone was out sitting on the steps, sipping drinks and taking in the view. It was a perfect setting for our last night in Italy!


Once again, a trip over far too soon and saying goodbyes to friends I wish I could see again sooner. I had a blast spending time with my friends for the past week and so glad they we were able to take the trip together. While away in Italy, I got very last minute confirmation for a business trip to go back to Virginia for an audit engagement for the same client that took me to the U.S. last year. I am so fortunate that KPMG Switzerland has this client and I got to go home for week week to see my family, autumn in Virginia and our family pup Zoe.

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