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Published: August 21st 2017
So I may have lied a bit to all of you blog followers. I promised a more in depth post about the rest of our experience in Florence and to get you up to speed on our Positano living. However, there is just too much to go over. So, I made an executive decision to cover the highlights and upload new pictures in this post. You're welcome. One second as I go back to my previous post to see where we left off... got it! So quick recap of Florence is in order. Day 1: arrive, check in, eat and then explore. Ended up at a great bar recommended by Tara (a work friend of Lauren's), who studied abroad there, right across from the Medici Chapel (San Lorenzo area). They start happy hour appetizers around 18:00 and we got there around 16:00. So naturally, we had a few beers and glasses of wine until the free food. In the meantime, we entertained ourselves with a median in the road. Those who have been abroad know about the round road barriers that will go into the ground to allow certain cars through then rise up once they've passed. Anyways, San Lorenzo is
packed with tourists and we were seated right by such a barrier. It was like a young Matthew Karel Fisser discovering the yo-yo. I could have sat there all day watching unsuspecting tourists trip over the barrier as it rose up and praying that each passing car would lower it.
We then headed back to our hotel bar and all I can say is what a view! Many times during this trip, I lack the descriptive vocabulary to explain the views and the feelings that said views evoke for me and my wife. Day 2: Met our colorful guide Fernanda. She brought us around the city and through Academia where David stands. One thing is evident while touring Florence: the Medici family was very powerful. Ponte Vecchio (Old bridge) right where our hotel was used to be a meat market. However, centuries ago the Medici family created a corridor above the street that connected town hall and their palace, which was across the Arno River for fear and protection (think paparazzi) while traveling to the government building. The corridor went right over Ponte Vecchio which used to be a meat market...until the Medici complained about the smell and moved
gold vendors there. One great saying Fernanda told us about Florentians when we reached the Duomo is: "Paradise in the eyes but hell in the mouth". Refers to the fact they see so much beauty but speak frankly and directly causing "hell". The Duomo in Florence was designed by Brunelleschi, for those who don't know, and was the inspiration for St Peters. Michelangelo was famously quoted as saying, "I am heading to Rome to build your bigger sister but she will not be as beautiful." Any who, meant to make this a quick recap and here I am rambling. Why didn't you say anything? Of course, David was amazing but I thought the sculptures before were just as impressive. Michelangelo, according to Fernanda, hated a finished sculpture. He thought art should be struggling to try and escape out of the marble, not be reveal what is inside and chisel away. I may be biased because I thought the unfinished St. Matthew was awesome. Also, he was one of the few, if not only, who did not first practice his sculptures in plaster to get measurements. He just did it.
Okay, brief and concise is the theme for the rest
of this blog post. Grammar nazi's don't worry about paragraph breaks (my wife may have inserted a few upon her editing). Let an artist flow, like Michelangelo sculpting. Visited the Ufizzi. Highlights included: Birth of Venus, Holy Family and Adoration of the Magi (Da Vinci). Got cookies, one of which was a pistachio ball, which Fernanda said the name meant "ugly but delicious"...don't remember the Italian name. Day 3: Met Giovanni our driver through Tuscany. We passed a McDonalds which used to be a nursery (garden) for 3 generations but the youngest sold it. Gio had one of the best quotes of the trip: "I don't understand McDonalds. If I am going to be fat, why not eat something delicious." Amen brother. Amen. Remember, flying through the highlights. If you want to hear more, buy my wife and I a bottle of vino and we'll share stories with you ("Amen"... Lauren editing). Always leave them wanting more is what someone I think I respected once told me...maybe. Gio took us first to a memorial for the American soldiers who fought in WWII. It was about 4,000 crosses perfectly aligned and the landscape was pristine. No matter what anyway says or
how they treat Americans, it is the respect shown to those who fought and died to free Europe and the world that truly matters. This is Lauren typing now...I was amazed by the fact that Tuscany has this immaculate cemetery where only Americans are buried. It was haunting, yet beautiful and I'm not sure something similar exists in the world (maybe the French in the Revolutionary War?) On a much lighter note, we stopped at Tavernelle to walk through the small city. Immediately reminded us of Under the Tuscan Sun. Took us literally five minutes to walk through the town. Beautiful. We then went to Siena where the Palio di Siena had just occurred a few days earlier. Siena is made up of 17 districts which have their own flag and name i.e. waves/surf, trees, snails, etc and twice a year have a horse race around the center of the city. Your affiliation used to be determined by where you were born but now since everyone is born in the same hospital the mother chooses the district for the first born, then the father and so on. Any who, the surf/wave won the race in August and they were still
taking the dirt and barriers away as we sat and had a glass of wine. Quickly, as I want to enjoy Positano (where I am currently) we went to the church in Siena and saw the head and thumb of St. Caterina. Then we went to the our winery which is in the third generation of ownership. Where we were glad to drink and eat in the cellar. Unbeknownst to us, we were eating in catacombs of the Etruscan that dated back to 60 BC. It was very cool (temperature wise). We ended up buying two bottles of Chianti and if someone can tell me the vineyard from the pictures they may get the second bottle....(okay not the bottle, it was bought for a certain purpose but we will share our bottle with someone). Lauren will now be typing of the rest of the post. Enjoy mother cluckers!......So she does not want to type just give me her thoughts on a few things. 1. No seats on toilets in public restrooms.... hoover much? 2. Italian time is a thing - it takes forever to get the check. 3. People who are fat are only fat in the stomach but have
somewhat skinny arms and legs 4. Also, none are really "fit" in American standards especially women (no gyms have been spotted) 5. people here love Coca Cola/Soda. Aaaand back to the day. We then went to San Gimignano. Beautiful, breathtaking views but it was hot. So hot that Lauren got a rash from jewelry gifted to her from someone close. It's gone now. The rash, not the jewelry. Had a few glasses and saw a few torture museums, wished we had more time there. One of the best stories comes from later that evening. We arrived back at our hotel and decided to cool down for a minute in our room then head up to the bar. We arrived up there and met a yoga instructor from Santa Monica and a salt and peppered haired men who moved to Florence when he was 20 (we put him ~50). They had a 3 -month-old Italian Greyhound that was knocked out in his arms. I am talking a tranq dart to his neck knocked out. We started a conversation and I'll have to admit, both of their life stories was very unique! We got some good bar recommendations from them and Lauren
held the dog, who only awoke for the transfer then was instantly hit with another tranq dart. All I could think about was that we are not getting another dog. When we went to pay to go eat dinner, the waiter missed a round of our drinks. Unknown to us, the nice gentleman had paid for our first round. Still want to find him and thank him. We went to eat at our favorite place in Florence: Mangia Pizza. I call it my Rodeo Goat of Florence. After that we went to a bar recommended by the aforementioned gentleman called Piccolo. I was ordering a beer and saw a flash, the bar tender commented, "Oh! She's so flashy!". About two minutes later, we realized we were in a gay bar. Makes sense since the salt and pepper haired gentleman was gay. I think Lauren was uncomfortable as everyone was looking at me and not her. We ordered another beer to go and walked to hang out at the Arno. Fortunately, we had nothing planned that next day because we slept in. Our first stop was Ferragamo. I luckily already have two pairs (not #humblebrag here) but almost spent a lot
of money on more. Their Leather and the fact that they are still a family business makes me want to support them even more. Trying to be concise here. After that, ate and went to the market. Checked out Massimo's Leather (highly recommend it) and the central market. Picked up meat, cheese and bread for the evening. We got wine from our local supermarket and headed off to Piazzelle Michelangelo. (Flying through details here because I lack the words to describe the beauty...like how I could not describe how beautiful my wife is). We took a hot and sweaty bus up to Piazzelle Michelangelo, found a spot on the steps, cut the meat, cheese, opened the wine, and enjoyed the view of Florence. The view and sunset were what I would consider out of this world...until we got to Positano.
We arrived in Naples and had a driver take us out to Positano...which took about 1 hour and 15 minutes. This is where I truly struggle to find words. The town is built into the mountain and all towns along the coast are similar. Someone famous once said, "On the day of judgement, it will just be another day
for the life of an Amalfi citizen". That's the best phrase I can use to describe this place. We arrived, explored the beach and ate dinner with an amazing view. Today, we took an all day boat tour (with our main man Giovanni!! Sorry ladies he has a girlfriend). The first stop was a private island to swim and then we headed all along the coast. We stopped to each lunch at Tonnarella (delcious!), saw the Smeraldo Grotto (amaze balls!) and then walked around Amalfi. Saw the remains of St. Andrew (first disciple to follow Christ). Then we continued to another awesome Grotto where I tried to get Lauren to swim with me...she did not. But she did swim out near a beach before that, conquering her shark fears. Made our way back and now I am typing this as the sun sets. The day on the boat in Amalfi may seem quick from the description but let it be known that it was the best part of this trip. Nothing can beat spending a beautiful sunny day with your gorgeous wife on a private boat with the view of all these towns. Again, I lack the vocabulary to properly
describe the day. It was just the best day of my life...second...after marrying the love of my life.
On that note, truly, boats and flippity floppies!
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