Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 11: To Firenze

Our Italy trip nearly over, we took our trusty Fiat back to the Florence airport and caught a bus into the city. We checked into our hotel (Hotel Paris, a slightly worn old palazzo a couple of blocks from the Duomo) and headed to find some panini for lunch. Much to Dean's later dismay, we went to the same slightly expensive panini place we had eaten at on our previous Florence visit. They were really delicious though-on crunchy, crusty fresh bread.

We went for a walk to the Ponte Veccio, walking along the Arno while we ate, and then up to Piazzale Michelangelo to get the loveliest views of the city. After a small rest in front of San Miniato al Monte, we headed back down the hill to meet up with Dean next to the Uffizi.

Dean took us to see the impressive Stanford building which is a lovely palazzo that still houses the descendants of its original owners on the top floor. My favorite part of the evening, however, was getting to visit Dean's host family for a homemade Italian dinner of crostini with freshly pressed olive oil, pasta arribiata, and tiramisu. The olives that the oil came from had been picked just a week before from the family's own olive trees by the whole family (and Dean and Sarah), so the olive oil had not yet mellowed like the stuff we're used to having in the States. Fresh olive oil is neon green and has a very peppery, almost prickly taste. It was very different, but excellent. Dean's host parents were very friendly and welcoming, even though only Filomena spoke English.

After stuffing ourselves, we headed back to Sarah's apartment to play Euchre for an hour or two before we returned to the Palazzo Paris to have a frustrating shower with a handheld showerhead attached lower than shoulder height which also wouldn't stay upright until I rigged it to the curtain bar with a hair tie before hitting our twin beds. Oh, Hotel Paris, you made me never want to leave.

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