We got up early to get to our train and grabbed a couple buns on our way out and said goodbye to Hotel Serena. There was a taxi waiting for us as we were leaving from a different terminal (Tibertina) so had to rush there to meet the train. The train was another high speed train and we were served drinks and a snack for the quick ride between stations.
The countryside of Tuscany was beautiful with lush fields and groves of olives as well as vineyards. Idyllic with sheep and cottages dotting the countryside.
We arrived at the train station and took a cab to the hotel - Hotel Degli Orofi – right on the river. Our rooms weren’t ready so we left our stuff and went out exploring. The city was clean and smelled fresh and there is a festive air about the place. The hotel clerk gave us some good suggestions on where to eat and go.
We wandered up to the market place – Mercato Centrale – and there were lots of outdoor vendors. It started to rain however. We went in and after looking around a bit we settled down to have a sandwich. The city has every kind of eating establishment you can think of – from McDonald’s to a $330,000 Euro truffle.
Then off to the Galleria dell 'Accademia but discover (after asking several people) we had to get tickets from a place near our hotel. So off we go and find the place fairly easily, get our “skip the line” tickets and go back – to stand in line. We eventually got in and the first thing that hit us was The David standing at the end of the hall (surrounded by hundreds of people). There were also displays of musical instruments, bibles, art from the Gothic to the High Renaissance, plaster casts of many bronzes. Wonderful place filled with the work of many days and hands.
After losing each other a couple times we finally got it together and went out into the rain. We stop for a gelato and walk back to our hotel. I was only hit by two umbrellas so considered myself lucky that I didn’t lose an eye! Back at the hotel we had some nice prosecco and chocolate and a brief rest.
Back to the main desk and they direct us to a very nice restaurant on the Arno (Tavernetto Della Signoria Ristorente) and we have a glorious meal. Afterwards we wandered along the river and up into town to the Paiazzo Vecchio and looked at their outdoor sculptures and messed around a bit before heading back to the room to dry off and get some sleep.