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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Florence, Toscana, Italy

Oct 6, 2019 - Allo Italia

Our first night on the French Riviera was in Fréjus/St Raphael. What a delightful place. Reminds me a lot of the old Mooloolabah or Coolangatta for you Aussies. Lovely sandy beach totally open to the public, coffee shops and cafeteria’s on the other side of the street and no building above six stories. Found a local market and bought our lunch of calamari, paella and potatoes. Next day on to Italy, but not without first going by Monte Carlo, Monaco. We only saw it from up high on the hill but probably the best view. I was commenting on the...

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Sep 16, 2019 - Farewell to Florence-hello Venice

It was difficult to leave Florence and our responsive and pleasant Hostess. Our apartment was very nice, not too unexpected since it was Paolo's (our Hostess) daughter's apartment. The daughter now lives in England, and probably won't be coming home, but Mom still hopes so, and in the meantime is renting it out to tourists like us. We had already purchased our tickets on the train before coming to the station. We knew there would be a line, and joined one behind a turnstile that was closed with a red X. Finally one of the passengers asked...

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Sep 15, 2019 - The Duomo

We headed to the Duomo for the Gregorian Chant worship service but had a slight delay. As we exited our apartment we saw that our bridge was closed to car traffic. In fact, we witnessed a real Italian confrontation between an unhappy scooter rider and a police woman. Really funny to hear them yelling at each other. Finally the police woman gave a signal to "cut" & it was all over! Over the bridge came a parade of hundreds of horses being ridden by military, police, & citizens of all ages. It was quite a site. We were glad we were running a...

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Sep 14, 2019 - Piazza Santo Spirito & Church

We started today by walking to Santo Spirito Church. There was an open air market on Piazza Santo Spirito (where we dined last night) so we wandered there a bit first. We saw produce, olive oil, clothing, toys, etc. The church is quite austere and plain. In a separate sacristy was the wooden Crucifix sculpted by Michelangelo at a very young age. What a talented young man and so dedicated to his faith. We then went into the open air Cloister of Paris (Cloister of the Dead). The surrounding walls were filled with crypts dating to the 1300's....

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Sep 13, 2019 - Michelangelo Day

Today was a relaxed and catch-up day. We worked on journaling all morning, and ate lunch at home. Relaxed is a relative term, however. After lunch we took a 'long way around' walk back across our bridge and to the Duomo Museum. Once again we took the short walk back to the Duomo, but not for the interior. Rather, we went to look at the Baptistry, the Bell Tower (just outside, we're not into the sport of "Ascending stair mountain climbing"), and finally the Duomo Museum. While we're not particularly excited about museums we were shocked by...

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Sep 12, 2019 - Touring the Tuscan Hills

Touring The Tuscan Hills This was our one tour of the trip. We had very mixed feelings. We saw places we wouldn't have seen without the tour but we felt it was very rushed and there wasn't enough time in each city. The bus traveled through beautiful rolling hills and mountains to Sienna, our first stop of the day. We met up with a local tour guide that took us around Sienna. She took us to the piazza where once a year there is a horse race. Sienna is divided into districts and each district has a horse donated by a farmer. The jockey and...

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Sep 11, 2019 - Oltrarno area & the Accedemia

Oltrarno & The Accademia We had a wonderful walk this morning exploring the Oltrarno area around our apartment. The streets and "sidewalks" were for the most part quiet and empty which was wonderful. We came upon a small outdoor market, what we call a farmer's market. There was produce. Clothing, pottery & various other things. We continued wandering and came upon a pastry shop, there are many here! We decided to walk along the river on our way back home and to our surprise we found a wonderful park that soon became a playground. We picked...

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May 22, 2019 - One day in Florence

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 Venice to Florence, Italy We woke up early today, packed our bags then down to breakfast in the hotel. We only had to walk about 5 minutes to the Venice Central Railway Station where we had to catch the train at 9:25am for Florence about 2 hours away. It was a very quick journey passing through green Italy. We arrived in Florence just after 11:30am and walked about 400 metres to our “hotel” on the 5th floor of an apartment building, called Nancy House. This appeared to be an apartment with about 4 rooms and a...

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Dec 27, 2018 - Florence

Florence is known as an open-air museum, home to the de'Medicis, Michaelangeo, Bottecelli and da Vinci. I was anxious to get out to experience Florence in all its glory, knowing I only had 3 days to see everything I wanted to see. I found a charming and inexpensive pension in the old section of town near the famous Duomo and then set out to explore on foot. Florence has the feeling of small medieval town with narrow, winding cobblestone streets and fabulous Renaissance buildings. It is surprisingly busy given that this is a pretty small...

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Oct 14, 2018 - Florence to Munich and then home to Canada

Buongiorno, Friday was our last full day in Florence. After breakfast we made our way to the Mercato Centrale Market and checked out the vendors and their products. So many different cheeses, meats, fish, produce and more. Italy really is all about food and enjoying life! The rest of the day we explored more of Florence, packed up our stuff and ended the night with one last pasta dinner and a final close up look of the incredible detail on the exterior of The Duomo. On Saturday after a light breakfast at a cafe near our apartment, we...

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Oct 11, 2018 - Florence

Buonasera, Yesterday we had a great day! We went on a day trip to Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa. It was another very long day but it was a good tour. Standing in the main square of Siena, our guide told us about the Palio. The Palio is the most important event in Siena, taking place on July 2 and August 16 every year. In the Palio, the various Sienese "contrade", or areas in which the city is divided, challenge each other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city in the Piazza del Campo. Next we walked up the hill to the Siena...

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Oct 9, 2018 - Florence

Buonasera from Florence, On Monday, we went on an excursion to Cinque Terre which is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the region Liguria, in the northwest of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia, and comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a very long day (checked in with our tour group at 6:45 am and...

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