View our photo's of Florence
Hotel address - Hotel Eden di Miceli Beatrice & C, via Nazzionale 55/157 R, 50123 Florence. Tel: 055.483722
Cost - 110 Euros per night for a double room with private bathroom
Location - 300 metres from the main train station and walking distance to all the main tourist attractions and museums.
Comments - Our room was on the 1st floor at the front of the hotel. The room was quite large with a seperate bathroom. However the curtains were not heavy enough and the morning sun streamed into our room very early. The staff were all spoke English and where extremely helpful. We would highly recommend this hotel, however we would ask for a room on the back side of the hotel (away from the main street) as it tended to be a bit noisy on Fri & Sat night and first thing in the morning.
Thurs 20 Sep (weather - cool in the morning & evening / warm and sunny during the day)
Spent the morning checking our email and calling home. Went to the Uffizi museum but didn't end up going in as the ticket queue was 3 blocks long. I can't believe how many tourists are here in Florence (yes, I know we are tourists too, but September is traditionally not one of the busy tourist months). We wandered around the piazza and looked at the statues in the Loggio (need to check the name) - an outdoor museum.
We wandered over the Ponte Vecchio and looked at all the gold jewellery - Mark was very happy that I didn't find anything I liked! Then we climbed the steps to the Michael Angelo Piazza which is on the opposite side of the river and provides a stunning view of Florence. Took lots of photos then walked back down to the city and past the Duomo, there was no queue (what a miracle) so we wandered in and had a look at the stained glass windows, organ pipes and the frescos painted on the domed ceiling.
Even though it was 5pm and we knew the museum was closed we decided to wander up to the Del Academia museum to see where it was, as we'll try to get there early tomorrow morning to see if we can beat the que! On the way we discovered a "slef serve pizza restaurant" and decided to try it for dinner. It was cheap and the food was OK but we wouldn't rush back. Very popular with the backpackers!
Fri 21 Sep (weather - cool in the morning & evening / warm and sunny during the day)
Got up and went to the Del Academia museum where Michaelangelo's statue of David lives but the queues were so long we decided to give it a miss for today.
We visited the Galleria Michelangelo (21 via Cavour) which houses the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. This museum has over 40 working models of mechanical building, flying and war machines exactly reporduced from Leonardo's codices. Some of the exhibits are interactive so we were able to handle the models and see them working. Pretty smart little bugger and he did art and poetry and stuff too.
Caught a train to Pisa, had lunch and checked out the leaning tower. Still got quite a lean despite the straightening they gave it recently. The next available walk to the top was 2 hours away, so we decided not to take in the view from the top. It'd be just my luck for the bugger to fall over anyway so not too dissapointed.
Jenni and I both did the trick photo thing pushing the tower over and trying to hold it up. Wandered on over to the old walls of Pisa and got some pics of Jenni and the very large locks on the city gates then wandered back to Pisa station for the train back to Florence.
Back to the hotel for a rest before heading out for dinner at 9pm. Our first restaurant choice was not good as a pommy couple advised us to leave before we ordered. We took their advice and found a magic little restaurant just 10 metres further down the street - Il Messere Ristorante Giardino Interno, via Guelfa, 98/100 R. Tel: 055.471967 http://www.ristoranteilmessere.com/). Magic pasta and cheescake to die for. Back to the hotel for a sip of vino from the corner store at 5.5 Euros a bottle, not bad either. Just finished updating our blog (midnight) and time for bed.
Sat 22 Sep (weather - cool in the morning & evening / warm and sunny during the day)
Mark is in seventh heaven, we found a cafe that does bacon & eggs for breakfast. We couldn't believe it as we had been looking at heaps of menus trying to find somewhere, and this cafe is three shops down from our hotel on the opposite side of the street. Too bad we didn't spot it earlier. Breakfast was great, except for the toast which was like wooden slabs. We'll be back tomorrow for omlettes!
Caught the 10am bus to San Gimignano, except that it didn't depart until nearly 11am as they had sold heaps more tickets than there were seats, so they had to put on another 2 buses! Chatted to some American students that are doing a BA in fine arts and are staing in Sienna for 3 months studying Italian art & learning Italian as part of their degree. Wow, wish our Uni degrees were like that!
San Gimignano is a walled fortress built on the top of a mountain. The church is obviously a popular wedding spot as we saw 2 bridal parties leaving the church and having photos taken in the main piazza. Had a lovely lunch in a cafe in the main piazza and then climbed to the top of one of the fortress towers for a stunning 360 degree view of the countryside, rolling fields in all directions.
Returned to Florence about 5pm and went back to the hotel to put our feet up for an hour or so before dinner. Went to the same restaurant as yesterday for dinner (Il Messere) and it was just as good! A great little find.