Sunday 8th August-
Continental breakfast of Nutella croissant (!), a plum and grapes and a heavenly chocolate cappuchino, 9.30am. Took the bus into Firenze's centro storico. 1st stop- Basillica della San Giovanni. Domed ceilings, heavenly frescos (literally) and a few of the most beautiful mosiacs I've ever seen before. As we emerged, we could see the Duomo's Dome jutting out over all the other buildings. We strolled out into the piazza from the narrow street and my jaw dropped to the floor with a resounding clunk. The awe-inspiring white and jade tiled exterior was so multi-faceted it became hard to look at very quickly; the mind just couldn't take in all the intricate detailing all at once. Martin and I joined the mid-length queue and snatched glances at the over-whelming sculpted entrance whenever we dared let our mind wheel with giddyness. After a while, we noticed the queue was going down substantially ever 5 minutes or so and upon reaching the front we realised why....the dome didn't open until 1.30pm....and it was only 12 o'clock. Because there was a queue, everyone assumed it was open. We tried to tell a few people behind us but the queue was massive by then and there were still people there when we walked past half an hour later.
We found our way eventually to the famous leather markets, full of hawkers of trashy tack and stall holders that jump on you as soon as your head turns in their direction. After being very rudely spoken to when declining to buy a hat from one of the vendors, I decided to only buy from stalls where I could browse unobserved.
After a quick sandwich, we ventured down to the notorious Ponte Vecchio, the house-holding bridge, and across the other side of the river, to gulp down a long overdue Bira Moretti and rest our aching feet.
After a lovely meal of Ravioli alla Pecorino e Pere in walnut sauce, and many cheeky snatched mouthfuls of Martin's Spaghetti alle Cozze (mussels), we drove down to see Michaelangelo's David and the stunning view over the twinkling city at night.