We all slept in this morning. That was the plan and it worked.
Once we got up, our time was spent doing last minute packing. Katrina hadn't even begun to pack yet. We were in no hurry. I would be happy if we hit the road by noon.
We were ready and in the car by 10:45am. It was a 3 1/2 hour uneventful drive south to Florence. A lot of the country we drove through looks a lot like the Willamette Valley. Then we hit the hills and tunnel after tunnel after tunnel until we arrived in Florence. It took us quite awhile and several wrong turns to find the parking garage.
We had to drag our luggage quite a long ways to our hotel, the Luna Rossa. Our room is on the 2nd floor with access to a common kitchen. It has satellite TV and a computer with internet access and wireless.
After unpacking a little bit and relaxing, we headed out to wander the streets and the nearby market. The street market was located near our hotel. There was a lot of leather for sale: leather coats, purses, bags, belts, wallets and more. There were also shirts, scarves, and trinkets. So much to see and spend money on. We abstained, for now.
One very small section of the multi street market stalls.
Brandon spotted a gelateria, so we had to have some. Wow, what great gelato.
We made our way through the pedestrian zone towards the Duomo - Santa Maria del Fiore. The Duomo is built in the Gothic style in the Middle Ages and has the third largest nave in Christendom. The busy facade was finished in the 1870's and is covered in pink, green and white marble. The cathedral's claim to fame is Brunelleschi's magnificent dome - the first Renaissance dome.
Closeup of the Duomo exterior artwork.
Katrina and Brandon at the Duomo
Another view of the Duomo.
We wandered through the crowds. The outside piazza is a very crowded and popular place to be. Tourists and Italians stroll the pedestrian zones late into the evenings. Italians love to be out and about.
We stopped at the Duomo Cafe for an early dinner. In tourist areas you can do this - eat early. At home most restaurants don't open for dinner service until 7:30 or 8pm. The Duomo Cafe is located behind the Duomo in a fairly quiet piazza. We all had the dinner special: bruschetta and salad (we have decided that my bruschetta is the best), pasta con bolognase for Brandon and I, lasagna for Katrina. Katrina and I also had the 'house' wine and could barely finish it. It was bad.
On the way back to the room we stopped for gelato. We shared some Kit Kat gelato, which was not very good.
We were back in the room and ready for bed around 9pm.