If you missed part 1, you can read about our trip to Rome (and why I’m writing this series): HERE.
It was raining when we arrived in Florence, but the train ride was kind of amazing. I love European trains; they are so clean and modern. They gave us little heart shaped chocolates and small glasses of champagne.
Our hotel – hidden behind a wall – had the most gorgeous garden. Actually, everything about that hotel was gorgeous, and although Rome was my favorite city, the hotel in Florence was my favorite place to stay. In the history of all the places I’ve ever stayed. We wandered the garden after we checked in – it reminded me of the Secret Garden, one of my favorite childhood books, because everywhere you turned there was a hidden pathway or staircase, a fountain you hadn’t noticed at first. It was full of surprises. We climbed a giant staircase expecting to be rewarded with an amazing view or a magnificent sculpture – but there was nothing when we got to the top. Just the tops of trees.
Our first night in Florence we accidentally ate at a super touristy, crowded restaurant with pretty mediocre food. The next night we ate at Cibreo and it was our favorite meal in all of Italy. The waiters were so friendly – it’s a spoken menu, so they sit and help you pick out your food. It was such a unique experience. When we told them we were on our honeymoon from New York City, they got so excited – they wanted to hear about New York, our travels. I actually found Italians everywhere to be so lovely and nice, but the people at Cibreo were kind of exceptional. They kept bringing me little things that I didn’t order because they wanted me try them – and then they just gave us a giant piece of cake for dessert. I wish we’d had time to eat there a second time because it was the absolute yummiest, most interesting place, full of wonderful people.
We saw all the things you’re supposed to see in Florence – the Duomo (so much bigger than I imagined!); Palazzo Vecchio; we rubbed the snout of Il Porcellino (the little pig); and walked across Ponte Vecchio… but no, we did not see The David. The line was ridiculous, and we just didn’t care enough to wait. So we went and saw the replica in Piazza della Signoria. (My favorite statue in the piazza was Perseus With the Head of Medusa. It was sort of delightfully gruesome.)
I had grown my hair out for the wedding, and absolutely hated it, so I had about six inches cut off in Florence. I also started my quest for an amazing pair of Italian boots in Florence. I dragged John from shop to shop. I eventually found a pair in Siena. (I really need to get them re-soled. I literally wear them everywhere still.)
After a few days, we rented a car for the next leg of our journey. Driving in Italy was horrifying. (But more on that later.) Next up… Siena, Montalcino, and back to Rome!