I know it’s been awhile but I would like to finish sharing about my Europe adventure (only a few more cities left)!
My time in Florence was jam packed! After a full first day (see my post here), we had an even busier second day. The day started out with a leather demonstration at Leonardo’s Leather Shop. One of the sales girl’s explained how leather is preserved and then she showed us how they make their signature jewelry box. It was pretty cool to see the process and just how much work goes into making their jewelry boxes (kinda helps explain why leather goods are so expensive!). The presentation was only about 30 minutes and then we had some time to browse in the store before going on a mini walking tour of the city. They had some very nice leather products including purses but it was all pretty expensive and not really my style. I did buy a couple thin purple and blue leather bracelets though.
After the leather demonstration, our tour manager gave us a mini tour through the city. We started in the main plaza, Palazzo Vecchio, where we were dropped off the first day. We saw several of the statues including the replica of the Statue of David, which was quite impressive even though its much smaller than the actually statue. After walking through the main square we walked out along the Fiume Arno River and past several stands selling jewelry and leather goods and went out to the main bridge over the city to take some pictures. Florence really is such a beautiful city with the cobblestone streets and the river! We then walked past some of the designer shops – at this point it started to sprinkle a little but luckily didn’t rain for very long. It was actually kinda cold, which is unusual for Florence in September – our tour manager said we were fortunate to have nice weather while we were there. Our mini tour ended in a Piazza della Repubblica, a plaza not too far from the Duomo that had a pretty cool carousel and mini replica of the city.
After our mini tour, Neli and I decided to grab lunch at this cute outdoor restaurant right by the Duomo. Two American guys (I think from Texas) actually ended up sitting at the table right next to us. They were actually the first Americans we met while on our trip – which was kinda surprising it took almost two weeks to run into other Americans considering we were doing a lot of touristy things in all the cities we went to. The four of us ended up sharing what we had done on our trip thus far; they had actually just come from Rome so they gave us some tips since we were headed there next. For lunch, of course we had more pasta! I started with a bowl of Minestrone soup while Neli had tomato soup which was actually more like a meat sauce for pasta than the typical runny tomato soup but it was actually pretty good. Both Neli and I ordered pasta for our main dish, of course. I’ve seriously never eaten more pasta in my life than while I was on my trip – we had it every day in Italy! Overall it was a pretty good meal!
Following lunch, we decided to explore the city some more and do some shopping. We wandered into quite a few leather stores hoping to find a cute leather jacket. Neither of us found one we loved which was probably good so that I didn’t have to worry about buying an expensive jacket. After our shopping, we were planning on having some more gelato (Yes, I did have gelato every day in Italy!). It started to rain again so we found a little dessert cafe/market with just couple indoor tables which were luckily empty. We bought a couple pastries – a nutella pastry and a pistachio and chocolate pastry and decided we should probably have some champagne with our dessert too! I debated about having gelato with our desserts and after seeing so many people leaving with gelato I decided I should get some – who knows when I’ll be in Florence next! After our dessert party we were both pretty tired and decided to make our way back to the hotel to relax for a little before getting ready for our Tuscany dinner.
That night we had a dinner in Tuscany planned with the group as well as our group picture. We headed to take the group picture before going off to dinner. We drove across the river and up to a lookout of the whole city! The view was seriously so beautiful! You could see the whole city – the river was right below and then the city stretched out along the river. We gathered in the lookout area for a quick picture – they were some other people there who were taking photos of the city so we had to arrange the group just right to block them out of our photo – I was impressed that the photographer did such a good job hiding the other people!
After the quick stop for pictures we headed out to the countryside in Tuscany for dinner! It was one of the best dinners I had on my trip! The restaurant was up on top of the hillside so there was a beautiful view of the rolling, green hills from the restaurant. The restaurant was more of a banquet type set up – like it seemed like a fabulous place to hold a wedding reception! Our dinner consisted of several courses and a variety of wines. Upon arrival we were greeted with sangria – which was pretty on par with the fabulous sangria from Spain. Then of course we had lots of bread to start with and then we had several appetizers that include meats and cheeses and pate. That was my first time trying pate – i didn’t hate it but I definitely didn’t love it, it was kind of a weird texture to me. Then of course we had pasta to follow the appetizers. Followed by our main course of pork and potatoes, which was fabulous! To serve the main course, the chef brought out the huge pork leg and chopped it up right in front of us. It was a very impressive presentation! The main entree was then followed by tiramisu for dessert. The whole meal was fabulous!
My second day in Florence was definitely busy! Florence was quite the impressive city and I hope to be able to go back on day!