We woke up in Rome at the ungodly hour of 5.40, quickly cleaning up, packing our bags and eating breakfast, before heading towards the metro at Spagna, 23 minutes by foot.
At the Spanish steps someone were shooting a commercial, but we were in a bit of a rush, so we had no time to stop and watch. Zuzanna bought a ticket for the metro (having lost her 3-day metro ticket, when her wallet went missing) and we took the metro to the train station where we luckily made it on the train at 7.20. We arrived in Florence at 9.05 am, where my mother’s friend Anne Mette, who is a tour guide in Florence, had arranged for us to store our bags at hotel della Signoria that also had our key for the apartment across the street that she had booked for us. She even insisted on paying for everything! I think she is one of the kindest people on the planet.
We walked back to the square in front of the Santa Maria Novella Basilica, where we were supposed to meet up with Anne Mette around 10 am, since she was showing a danish group around Florence and let us tag along for free.
Thereby we got a free history lesson on Florence, while being walked around to the most important parts of the old town. How awesome an opportunity is that! We started by Santa Maria Novella, then we walked to the Piazza della Republica, and further to the Florence baptistery, with its golden door, Florence Cathedral, with its giant dome, and the bell tower of Florence.
We continued through tiny streets from the Middle Ages, Anne Mette pointing out interesting facts about the buildings on the way until we reached the Piazza della Signoria where we saw the Town Hall (Palazzo Vecchio) and the outdoors sculpture museum Loggia die Lanzi.
We continued to Piazzale Degli Uffizi and down to the Arno river that we walked along until we reached Ponte Vecchio, where we turned right and ended the tour at the new market by the Fontana del Porcellino (the bronze boar).
The whole tour had been really interesting and we had somehow managed to discover most of the old town in just two hours.
Anne Mette was really busy but still found the time to take us to an Italian restaurant, where she knew everyone, and had once again paid for us, so we could get whatever we wanted for lunch. And since it was Zuzanna’s birthday we even got champagne as we talked, which I thought was incredibly thoughtful. How sweet can a person possibly be? We felt overwhelmed by her kindness, and going to the restaurant we almost felt like locals as we were introduced to Anne Mette’s friends and were treated with so much warmth by everyone. It seems that in Florence a friend’s friend is also their friend, and I quickly fell in love with the people and the atmosphere here. Everyone were so incredibly nice and genuine.
After having eaten the delicious food, both completely full, we went to the hotel, where we picked up our bags and the key for the apartment across the street. And the apartment was incredible, so luxurious that it almost felt too easy. Aren’t interrailers supposed to live in dirty hostels and eat canned foods? The apartment was an absolute dream after having mostly slept in mixed dorms in hostels and we once again thanked Anne Mette in our thoughts for everything.
We quickly went out again walking slowly over Ponte Vecchio looking at all the beautiful gold smiths.
We went for dairy free gelato at gelateria Vivaldi where we sat for a little while, before walking to Palazzo Pitti. By now the temperature had reached around 34 degrees celsius, even worse than in Rome and I couldn’t wait to get inside the Palace.
We bought reduced tickets and walked around the incredible, but ridiculously big museum. I think I would have enjoyed it more if my knee hadn’t bothered me as much as it did. We walked around the impressive rooms for a while before heading back to the apartment where we rested until dinner.
I really don’t think that my knee has very much enjoyed all those stairs I’ve been climbing lately. We went to dinner at le Fate, a vegan restaurant, where I treated Zuzanna (and myself) to delicious food and wine as her birthday present.
We sat at the restaurant for a while to finish our wine and talk before heading back home. Falling into the soft bed, It didn’t take long for us to fall asleep. And even though Zuzanna’s birthday didn’t start off too great with her wallet getting stolen, I think that she still had a pretty great day. I at least hope she did.
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