As we finish up our last full day in Rome here is half of our Florence adventure. More to come soon as we will be hanging out for one night in Milan before flying home. 

Our trip to Florence begins with a pretty embarrassing story that will have to be told and retold by word of mouth because I am too proud to put it out there in the 'real world' of the interwebs. Just call and ask for the Stupid American part of our honeymoon.   {Comments from Amanda (me!) are in italics.}

Anyway, we hopped on a train to Firenze Santa Maria Novella station to head to our next AirBnB. I was excited about this one because it was with an actual person and not an agency like our Venice apartment. We paid for a short taxi ride to our place on Via Lorenzo il Magnifico, and Massimo (yes that it is his name because he is awesome and Italian) met with us for 30 minutes to show the apartment dubbed "The Nest". It was up two flights of stairs. The Nest was an amazing place to call home for four days. Massimo had all kinds of maps and tips and suggestions. Huge improvement over Venice already - it had not started raining yet. 

The Nest kitchen table

The Nest kitchen table

The Nest's reading nook

The Nest's reading nook

We settled in and then went off in search of lunch. There was a gastronomy close by (you pay for pre-made food to eat there or to go) and we had some great lasagna, mushroom risotto, ravioli, a roasted chicken leg, a whole bottle of wine, and peas. Drinking an entire bottle of wine at each meal has become a normal practice and is always followed by an hour of walking around the city.

Galanti Gastronomy

Galanti Gastronomy

After the late lunch we found the super market and grabbed some staples to eat later. What does that mean to us? Salame, cheese, crackers, apples, Special K cereal, milk, and 3 bottles of wine. We had an early night to ready ourselves for the museums tomorrow.  {and to listen to our audiobook 11/19/63 by Stephen King. We've really been enjoying it!}

Our first dinner at 'home' in Florence

Our first dinner at 'home' in Florence

 DAY 1

The next day we had tickets to see the Uffizi Gallery, which included masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Titian. We saw a lot of very interesting Renaissance art. Our favorite was Boticelli's "Spring", but there were also many cool Roman statues lining the hallways.   {It was interesting to see the evolution of art from the 2D paintings of midevil times into the rich 3D, realistic paintings of the Renaissance. The museum was undergoing some renovations, so things were a bit out of order, but we saw most of the art we set out to see.} After we spent about two or three hours soaking it all in (by then our little uffizi's were hurting) - it was time for food.

Madonna

Madonna

Birth of Venus by Botticelli

Birth of Venus by Botticelli

It is amazing to see Amanda's face light up as we sit down to have some nice Florentine cuisine. On advice from our friend Leigh we went to Trattoria Nella and enjoyed Pappardelle with Boar Sauce (a local dish) and the Lasagna al Forno. Amanda won round one with the Boar - that dish was incredible. For second course we had Rabbit Cattiatore and Pork Chops with Broccoli. Amanda won round two also with the Rabbit.  {I've been craving boar sauce since I left Florence 5 years ago, and this did not disappoint. This was a tiny, family run place where we were greeted by the owner and invited to sit down. We enjoyed our meal slowly, and savored every bite.}

Amanda anxious to order her pappardelle with boar sauce at Nella  

Amanda anxious to order her pappardelle with boar sauce at Nella  

Pappardelle with boar sauce

Pappardelle with boar sauce

Rabbit catchatorie in the for ground and pork chop in the background 

Rabbit catchatorie in the for ground and pork chop in the background 

 After eating we took a stroll next to the Arno River and found il Porcelino in Piazza del Mercato Nuovo. It is said that if you touch the Boar Fountain and put a coin in his mouth that you will make a return trip to Florence one day. So we took care of that right away!

Il Porcelino - We're coming back! 

Il Porcelino - We're coming back! 

{Next we went in search of a pottery shop to purchase a wedding present for ourselves under the instruction of old family friends that gave us money to buy a piece of ceramic from the same shop that they received a wedding gift from 30 years ago. We got lost for a bit and stopped in to have yet another cup of cappuccino and regroup. Finally, we located the shop and picked out a beautiful bowl. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it before she wrapped it up in lots of plastic bubble wrap.}

Cappuccino stop while we were shopping

Cappuccino stop while we were shopping

After buying our cool Florentine painted bowl we headed home and ate some of our wine and cheese for dinner - a long and enjoyable Day 1 in the books. 

DAY 2 

 Our second day in Florence started with……you guessed it, another museum! This time we visited the Accademia which houses the epic statue of Michelangelo's David.  

David is big. As the story goes he has his sling over his left shoulder and a rock in his right hand.  

David is big. As the story goes he has his sling over his left shoulder and a rock in his right hand.  

Amanda likes some of Michelangelo's unfinished works that have been dubbed The Prisoners.   She likes to imagine the potential outcome if they had been completed. 

This 'prisoner' is named Matthew (no this is not a joke to mean I was trapped in a museum for hours). 

This 'prisoner' is named Matthew (no this is not a joke to mean I was trapped in a museum for hours). 

There were quite a few plaster statues in one room that were pretty cool. Some of them had tints applied to them to make them look like bronze works. These were made by students because the Accademia has always had an art school attached to it.

Plaster Statues

Plaster Statues

After the Accademia we stopped into the Medici Chapel (which wasn't on the agenda), and were captured by the size and decoration. From the outside you don't expect it to be much, but after seeing busts and reliquaries on the bottom floor you take the stairs and get ambushed by marble, huge figures, and frescoed ceilings. 

Medici Chapel Ceiling

Medici Chapel Ceiling

After this unexpected treasure it was time for lunch at Za-Za, where Amanda remembered getting some great pasta with walnut cream sauce on her last trip to Florence. We feasted here and devoured Pici Pasta with Sausage and Steak Florentine! I finally won a meal - that steak was one of a kind (even if it was 38 euro)!

Pici Pasta with Sausage

Pici Pasta with Sausage

Steak Florentine the size of my face. This one's for you, Julio. 😎 

Steak Florentine the size of my face. This one's for you, Julio. 😎 

After waddling out of Za-Za we headed to our next stop of the day - The Boboli Gardens. Luckily it was far enough away to give us plenty of time to walk off our last meal. On the way we passed by the Ponte Vecchio where jewelry and other wares are sold along the sides of this busy bridge. We also dropped by the historical city market - Mercato Centrale. This post is getting full of pictures, so enjoy this riveting video I took of the many store counters.  

The Boboli Gardens were gorgeous and had many great photo ops……so enjoy! 

Middle of the Gardens

Middle of the Gardens

Wall of Green

Wall of Green

Newlyweds in Love

Newlyweds in Love

The Wife

The Wife

Here is a cute video😍. 

Sunset view from the Ponte Vecchio

Sunset view from the Ponte Vecchio

We found a nice pizzaria called Il Clarinetta that was recommended by Massimo, and we enjoyed a Margherita and a Prociutto with Funghi (mushrooms). After that we went by some more shops and went home to bed. Here is the last picture of food (always food). 

Il Clarinetta

Il Clarinetta

Amanda's last cappuccino in Florence - yum

Amanda's last cappuccino in Florence - yum

We are headed out for our last dinner in Rome! Good Night! 

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