Italy Day 1

Day 1 and we were off to a pretty bad start. Waking up to an empty stomach, an empty kitchen and a gym that charges a per-entrance fee was not what I had in mind for our Italian escape. But on to the better things. We stopped at the on-site shop after working out to pick up a few basic necessities for breakfast and went back to get ready for the day. We found out the hard way that the shower drain didn’t work too well, which meant a quick power shower before heading off to discover the nearby town.Legs

Figline Valdarno is the neighbouring town to our camp ground, and holds a major Coop shop location where we went to get everything we would need for the weeks stay. Whilst we were able to get the bare necessities at the on-site shop, the prices were outrageous there. The Coop is similar to a large Sainsburys in the UK or a Jewel-Osco/Kroger in the US. Not quite a Meijer or ASDA, but a good, broad selection of items at good prices with store-brand options as well. Stocked up and ready to go, we dropped everything back at the flat and made our way into Florence for the remainder of the day.


Did I mention it was Joe’s birthday today too? Happy Birthday babe! More on that in another post.

Buon Compleanno
Smile Break

The drive to Florence, or Firenze as the Italians call it, was pretty easy. I recognized the drive in from the A1 Autostrade exit from the last time I was there, and we found free, on-street parking within comfortable walking distance of the city centre. The remainder of the day was spent perusing and strolling the streets, taking in all the sights that Florence has to offer.

Florence River

Ponte Vecchio







Our first stop was the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, which is known for the jewellery shops that line it. By night, the shops close up with wooden shutters that make the fronts look like suitcases and chests, making it a great route for an evening passeggiata, or stroll. Our next stop crossed two sites off at once; the Duomo and the Florence Baptistery. Both located in the heart of Florence, the Duomo, or Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, is the main church of Florence and was begun in 1296, finished in Bri1436. It is one of the largest churches in Italy and the largest brick done to ever be constructed. Pretty darn impressive for the 1300-1400’s if you ask me!


The Baptistery is also located in the Piazza del Duomo, and was constructed even earlier than the Basilica, having been constructed between 1059 and 1128. It’s best known for its three bronze doors that are made up of relief sculptures done by Andrea Pisano and Lorenzo Ghiberti. Random fact: up until the end of the 19th century, all of the Catholic Florentines were baptised in The Baptistery.

By this time, we were rather worn out and ready for a good birthday dinner, thanks to Joe’s brother Michael and his family. But more about that in another post…