Vernazza - Florence
After a quick breakfast of fruit we caught an early regional train from Vernazza to La Spezia, followed by a longer one to Florence. Once in Florence we walked to our inappropriately named B&B (which was really not particularly "eco-friendly"!). It was, however, located in a quiet, but fairly central area, which worked well for our purposes.
After dropping off our bags, we set out towards the famed Florence leather markets, where my beloved procured a new wallet (I have to say, I wasn't particularly impressed by the quality or design of many of the goods on offer). A sugar fix is always required after shopping - we decided on gelato.
Next on the day's agenda was the Academia. As expected, Michelangelo's David was both imposing and magnificent. In compliance with museum protocols, we didn't take any photos (although many did!), so I unfortunately don't have any images for interested readers. During our visit to the Academia, my beloved and I particularly enjoyed the short documentaries demonstrating how the stone sculptures were made - what fascinating and painstaking work!
After our time getting to know Michelangelo, my beloved and I headed towards the Duomo. Upon seeing the queues to enter, we quickly decided that we'd prefer to gaze at the structure while eating pizza and drinking chianti. Despite being "tourist central" our meal was surprisingly delicious and most definitely satisfying. Our spirits were high!
With a little time to kill before meeting up with our travel companions, we headed towards the Ponte Vecchio - a medieval stone bridge that still has operational shops on either side.
Across the bridge, we stumbled upon a patisserie that looked like a good place to rest our tired legs before our designated meeting time (amusingly, our travel companions turned up about five minutes after us with the same idea). What appeared to be a patisserie, was instead a complete tourist trap rip off! My beloved and I shared a biscuit and ordered a hot drink each. The price? €17. Not happy! Note to all travellers to Florence (and indeed, to any of the tourist hot spots in Italy): one is lumped with numerous service charges when one chooses to "eat in" at a restaurant/cafés. My recommendation would be to confirm these charges before making the decision on where to eat, order food "to go" or stand at the bar (this is an option in many of the cafés in Florence and doesn't incur additional service charges). Lesson learnt!
After resting our weary legs, we headed to Le Volpi E L'Uva - a small wine bar just a stone's throw from the Ponte Vecchio. It was recommended by one of the staff members at our hotel and, after sampling a few of their small dishes, I'm pleased to say that I recommend the eatery also.
As the sun began to set, the four of us commenced the 30 minute walk back to our hotel. En route, we once again passed by the Duomo, which was even more stunning against the deep blue of the sky.
What a busy day!