Today, we took the train back to Florence for our last full day in Italy. It felt really nice to be back in Florence. Terezia and I both agree that Florence is probably our favorite city. There's just something about the way it contains so much architectural and artistic beauty packed into such a relatively compact space. The river is definitely a plus, not just because it's pleasant visually (and is traversed by some cool bridges), but because of the way it divides the city into two distinct parts. Plus, Florence's overall feel, the vibe (at least when you're not being swarmed by tourist groups) is such a unique and perfect combination of laid back and frantic. We could stroll through the centro storico endlessly and not get sick of it. I always seem to discover new things that somehow eluded me on previous trips. We both feel like we could definitely live here.
We booked a pretty a room at a cheap bed & breakfast that overlooks the piazza with the Duomo. From our room you can look directly out onto the Baptistery, and then if you look to the left, you get a beautiful, fourth floor view of the Duomo's facade. The room itself was spacious and nice, with two big windows to lean out of and people-watch. It was also fun to just lie on the bed with the windows open and listen to the din of voices coming from the massive piazza below. The only downside was that this hotel has shared bathrooms. Not that it was a problem - we barely saw anyone else staying at the place. But I always hate feeling kind of rushed when somebody is potentially waiting to use the head.
After a lunch of lampredotto panini, Terezia dragged me into the depths of Florence's street markets near San Lorenzo to do some last minute shopping for her family. Surviving that, we had the rest of the afternoon and evening for a last stroll through our favorite areas.
For our final dinner in Italy, Aviva and Mike will be happy to know that we went to I Tarocchi again, since we wanted to end the trip on a culinary high note. The food was perfect, as usual.
And with that, we bid farewell to Florence (and Italy), and hope like crazy that we'll get to come back as soon as humanly possible!