Firenze – di nuovo

January 13th, 2007

Thursday I took the train up to Florence and met up with Katie, who has just moved to Florence from Chicago. Melinda had planned to join us but wasn’t feeling too hot, so we’ll be making plans very soon for another get together. I had time to kill before meeting up with Katie so after buying some books at Feltrinelli, I decided to take my usual walk around Florence. I have a favorite route I like to take, that hits all of my favorite things. It’s the way I take new people around Florence too, to give them an overview of it’s beauty.

First I walked across Ponte a Santa Trinità, which allows a nice view of the Ponte Vecchio and the arno in general, and meandered a little bit on oltrrarno side of the river. I stopped at an internet point by the Pitti Palace before heading over the Ponte Vecchio to get back to the other side. Having crossed Ponte Vecchio, I wandered through the outside corridor of the Uffizi, towards the Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria. Dusk was beginning and the light was perfect for a few evening photographs, which you can see in the Le Foto section of this blog. I made my way up Via Calzaioli and turned right on Via delle Oche so I could buy myself a tasty gelato at Gelateria Grom. I chose Cioccolato Extra Fondente and Pistacchio as my flavor combination. Gelato in hand, I went the rest of the way up Via Calzaioli which took me right to the Duomo and it’s imposing beauty. This is my favorite way to approach the Duomo, the most surprising and picturesque. I stood in the Piazza del Duomo eating my gelato and watching people take pictures of the Duomo. It’s sort of a hobby of mine. I still had more time to spare, so I turned back a little and went to Piazza della Repubblica.

Finally it was 7:00, time to meet Katie. I went back to the Piazza della Signoria and into Michael Collins Pub where she was trying to get her Mac to work with the wireless internet system there. We had a glass of wine while chatting and looking at pictures, made friends with a Scotsman who turned out to be from the same town as my ex, but thankfully did not know him, and somewhere between 8:45 or 9:00pm we were finally hungry (and this is a pretty typical dinnertime here in Italy) and made our way to the restaurant. We went on Melinda’s recommendation to Osteria Antica Mescita a San Niccolò, which is just across the Ponte alle Grazie. We started with various bruschette, and then I had the most tender cinghiale with polenta, and a salad, while she had pasta with a ragù sauce and a big mixed salad with cheese and tomatoes in it. We shared a bottle of the house chianti and took our time, eating and chatting. I was very impressed with this restaurant, I thought the prices were reasonable, the staff friendly and the food delicious.

After dinner Katie had to get her laptop from her friend Alessio who works at the Michael Collins pub so we trotted back in that direction and went in for our after dinner grappa. Downstairs there was a small group playing music from Seattle bands such as Pearl Jam. We decided to make ourselves at home and listen to the music, and I don’t think I got to bed until 3:00 am.

The next morning we met in the Piazza della Repubblica and sat in the sun drinking coffee. I realized that when I’m in Florence I do a lot of walking, and a lot of sitting in piazzas (people-watching). It was a beautiful, warm day. I went with Katie to her chosen language school so she could register for her classes and then we decided to sit down to lunch. After more walking, she accompanied me to the train station and I departed from Florence.

Usually I take the direct train and so I never have to switch trains. What I didn’t know was that I was not on a direct train, and by the time we’d passed Chiusi, the conductor who saw ‘Perugia’ on my biglietto, ticket, informed me that I should have gotten off at Terontola to change trains. Ack! So, I got off at the next stop, Fabro-Ficulle, which I know nothing about, and found someone to help me find the bigletteria, ticket desk. I was near tears as I was very frustrated, but very thankful that I speak Italian, so I was able to get my trip straightened out with no trouble whatsoever. Anyone who was within earshot of me wanted to help, which is typical around here in my experience. It didn’t turn out so bad, I waited maybe half an hour or 40 minutes, and found that this small town was surrounded by beautiful hills and had a sweet smell in the air. This cheered me up and I realized that things could have been worse. If you’re going to be stuck waiting somewhere, it might as well be a charming Umbrian town full of kind, helpful people. To be honest, there was something eerily familiar about this place, as if my soul had been here before. I enjoyed that sensation, and before I knew it I was on the next train to Terontola where I could switch to get the train to Perugia, and as my fortune would have it, the train I was on, turned into the train for Perugia so I didn’t even have to get off. I got to Perugia by 6pm instead of 3pm.

Needless to say, I skipped tango that night.

Entry Filed under: Firenze,Toscana,Umbria

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Roberto  |  January 13th, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Una esperienza bellissima immagino. Cosa ne pensi di palazzo della signoria? E della chiesa del Carmine? Io sono letteralmente rimasto senza fiato ammirando la chiesa, maestosa, immensa… ti fa rendere conto di quanto siamo piccoli di fronte a certe cose…
    Comunque anche Perugia non è da meno, una città incantevole, ricca di storia…

    Cmq, ancora complimenti, sei veramente “Bellissima” Tina ;)

  • 2. j  |  January 13th, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Tina, that all sounds so cool. Many thoughts came to mind while reading this, but the one I ended with is this:
    I had a similar train experience near Florence when I was there a few years ago. The train was not stopping where I thought it should (because I should have switched at the previous stop} so I showed my ticket to the conductor. He looked at it and said “managa” (?), this surprised me and I thouht it humorous because I don’t know what this word means, but my grandmother used to say it. I think its a dirty word.

  • 3. Tina  |  January 13th, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Ah, yes. He said “Managgia” which basically means “Damnit.”

    I love that word. :-)

  • 4. Roberto  |  January 13th, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    “Mannaggia” con 2 “n” :D

  • 5. Maria Ferrari  |  January 13th, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    I love hearing about your adventures in Florence. It brought back wonderful memories of my trip there with Mom. Of course, the Duomo is my favorite place to visit. I can’t wait to go back.
    Zia Maria

  • 6. Tina  |  January 13th, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    MANNAGGIA!! Meglio? ;)

    Si, la chiesa del Carmine è bella. La mia chiesa preferita a Firenze però, è Santa Croce.  Ma non dopo un po’ tutte le chiese diventono un po’ stancante.  Preferisco stare seduta in un caffè, guardando la gente e bevendo qualcosa.

  • 7. katie  |  January 13th, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    It was a great time girlfriend….I am glad to have you around to help me little by little with my italian…ciao bella!

  • 8. Carole  |  January 14th, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Ciao Tina,

    sei una bellissima e affettosa ragazza. Hai fatto benissimo ad incontrare Katie a benvenirla a Firenze. Voi ragazze sapete come vivere la bella vita e allargare il circolo d’amici.

    It would be wonderful to meet you and some of the other bloggers when I come to visit Roma a maggio.

    A dopo,

    Carole (Kansas City, Mo.)

  • 9. Roberto  |  January 14th, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Ciao Tina…

    sono d’accordo con te che da un punto di vista “emozionale” il Duomo dia gli stimoli più forti; vuoi per la sua “maestosità” vuoi per la storia ma, considera che nella chiesa del Carmine c’è una delle più alte testimonianze della pittura di tutti i tempi: gli affreschi della Cappella Brancacci di Masolino e Masaccio; prova a guardare le scene del “Peccato Originale e le Storie della vita di San Pietro”; è uno dei patrimoni artistici di fronte ai quali non si può non rimanere senza fiato ed impressionati di quanto può fare, pensare e creare l’uomo.

    Tra tutti, semmai dovessi andarci di nuovo, ti consiglio di perdere 10 minuti e.. perderti nella bellezza delle scene della “Cacciata dal Paradiso”: guardale, vivile, sentile tue e scoprirai la “potenza” dell’arte e della pittura (ovviamente ne parlo così perchè… adoro l’arte!!)


  • 10. mom  |  January 14th, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    Your lovely notes of Florence made me want to learn to speak Italian!!! Actually, I have always wanted to go to Florence. I hear the museums there are wonderful and being a big fan of art, and having spent much time at the Getty and Norton Simon, I would love to see the art of Italy and Europe for that matter.

    I hear your aunt and step mom are coming out to see you. Please have a wonderful time with them. Wish I could be there too. Love you.

  • 11. tracieb  |  January 14th, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    i took that very same evening picture! except mine was all blurry. i was shaking from the cold.

    che bella:)

  • 12. J.Doe  |  January 16th, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    I love seeing pictures of Palazzo Vecchio. That’s a good sign too, since I was married there. :)
    Great picture!!

  • 13. Caroline  |  January 19th, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    When I lived in Firenze, I used to hang out at the fountain in Piazza della Signoria every day to meet my friends. Used to live just off of Ponte Vecchio, same side as Palazzo Pitti. Those were good times. Don’t know if you have already but before you leave Italy, do try to visit San Gimignano, it’s such a lovely little town.

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