Where in the world are Raime and Kate? travel blog

Sunset from the Piazza Michaelangelo

The River Arno

The Duomo and Firenze at sunset

From the Campenile


Campenile again...

The Boboli gardens

Another from the gardens...

And another...

At the winery in Chianti

The Church in Greve

We joined the hordes of tourists after our last entry, visiting the famous Uffizi and Academia galleries. We were clever enough to make reservations at both, avoiding the 3 hour lines. It was exciting to see the more noteworthy works such as Boticelli's 'Birth of Venus' and the 'David', but the many, many works of the Assumption etc. got repetitive. The Uffizi gallery itself is quite amazing, there are ornate paintings on the celiings and the horseshoe-shaped building creates a large courtyard of which there are great views from the higher floor. We enjoyed being inside the Duomo, Florence's most striking landmark, a massive cathedral that took 150 years to build. Right next to it is the Campenile tower, whose 400+ steps we climbed and took in the views. We took in a beautiful sunset at the Piazza Michaelangelo on a hill south of the city, and managed to find a delicious nontouristy restaurant in that neighborhood.

Today we left the city to go on a tour of the Chianti region of Tuscany, where they produce...that's right, Chianti wine! We visited a winery and tasted some excellent wine, and visited the town of Greve, where the explorer Verazzano is from. He, of course, was the first explorer to enter what is now the Verazzano narrows and New York Harbor. The main square in town has a statue of him, and information about the construction of the Verazzano bridge! The landscape in Chianti is really gorgeous, with soft forested hills and vineyards and olive trees everywhere. We also got to taste some true extra virgin olive oil, and learned that even the most expensive you can get in the US is usually junk. (It should be nearly opaque and come in a dark bottle, and Italians throw it away after it's a year old.) There are lots of cyclists on Tuscany's hilly roads, who don't seem to mind how frighteningly narrow the roads are. Another exciting sight was Sting's villa! Our tour guide said she hears he's in town, but we think she says that every time.

It still has only rained on us once in over a month! Tomorrow we're headed to Venice, where we may see some thunderstorms, but we're of course incredibly excited to see the unique city. Ciao!

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