Buongiorno from Florence,

We arrived in Florence, got ourselves out of the train station and caught a taxi to ‘Torre Guelfa’, a hotel we have stayed in several times before. It has a wonderful feel, the staff are extremely friendly and we have always enjoyed our time there.  The Hotel had some renovations done in 2010 but all the qualities that we have enjoyed in the past remained the same, like the service, the breakfast and the tower.

A bit of history here -in 1260 Niccolò Acciaioli built a palace on land that his father bought in 1160, and the Torre Guelfa is part of that building. In 1280 the Buondelmonti family built the Tower to the right of the original palace entrance and in the 14th century the tower itself became part of the Acciaioli palace.  The tower has survived all of the trials and tribulations of nature and mankind, not the least of which were the bombing raids of the 2nd world War.

The Hotel is in a fairly central location in Borgo S.S. Apostili, one street back from the river and is literally a “stones throw” from the Ponte Vecchio.

Hotel Torre Guelfa

After quickly unpacking and setting up our room, we hit the streets to rediscover some of the delights that this wonderful city has to offer.  We have only previously visited Florence in January, when everything is quiet, as well as cold. Florence in the summer is a bit different, very busy with huge numbers of visitors, very hot and humid but still fantastic!

The crowds

As evening approached we made our way up the 72 steps to the top of the tower to have a drink and take in the sights.  A couple of Prosseco’s later, we were fairly relaxed, the view was, as always, breathtaking as the sun began to sink below the horizon.

From the Tower at Torre Guelfa
Barbara admiring the stunning views from the tower

As you can see Barbara has her arm in a brace. For those of you who haven’t caught up with this, a week before we were to leave Adelaide, Barbara was visiting Phil and Neralie in Canberra, unfortunately she slipped over on some food on the floor in the supermarket and fractured her wrist. As a result she had to undergo surgery to put in a plate and screws to repair the damage. A deal made with the very fabulous doctor was that he would do the surgery and we would delay our travels by a week. This meant instead of celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in the hills outside Florence we spent the day on Qantas flights! So, instead of sipping Moët out of crystal glassware, we quaffed “Jacob’s Crëëk” from a plastic cup 10,000 metres above the earth.  The surgery was successful and her arm is improving every day.

Florence in the morning
Morning light

Early the next day Barbara went off to become a member of the Uffuzi Gallery. Membership means that you don’t have to queue for the Uffizi, and also includes VIP entry into most of the other galleries in Florence. To get this membership took about an hour of waiting very patiently (and meeting other people who were also trying to short circuit the wait), but this certainly beat the 2-3 hour wait people who didn’t do this had to go through. The queues are UNBELIEVABLE!!! She spent a couple of very pleasurable hours looking at the amazing Renaissance collection in this beautiful building – Thank you Medici family.

I hit the cobblestones to take some photos and generally re familiarize myself with Florence.  I had noticed in Milan the previous few days that very vibrant colours were in fashion, both in clothing and accessories, colours so bright I’m sure they can be seen from outer space, my bright lime green shirt and blue jeans were just no match for the kaleidoscope of vivid colours being worn in Europe.

The last time we were in Florence, we went to a little restaurant just down the street from our hotel. On that occasion I tried the Florentine speciality, ‘bistecca alla fiorentina’ (steak) the customary size of which is about 1200 grams. It was so big I didn’t know whether to put a saddle on it and ride it, or eat it. I opted for the latter, this thing was so big that when I was half way through, the waiter took pity on me and took it back to the kitchen to re-heat it for me.  This time I wasn’t quite as brave and just had a small moderate steak, no reheating required!

That evening, we made our way back to the top of the Tower to visit Chris, the resident wine expert and lovely lady who served us with more Prosseco. We sat in the cool breeze on top of the world and watched the sun go down.

A popular mode of transport

We now head of to the N.E. of Florence to the Fattoria di Maiano, which is situated about 2.5 kms from Fiesole.

Lance and Barbara


  1. Oh It sounds fantastic – and ohhhhhh those handbags and stunning -I can see I will have to plan a trip to Italy soon!!!! glad to hear your wrist is improving Barb! Love Adrienne x

  2. All looks so fabulous. Wish I was there. I am in rainy London which still manages to be fabulous. Keep on enjoying yourselves and so glad that Barb’s arm is not preventing her from lifting a glass.
    Francesca xx

    • Hi Francesca,
      Yes the weather here is fantastic, hope it stops raining in London before we get there, Barb is still managing to raise a glass, I am giving her coaching.

  3. glad your time in Florence was nicer than we experienced . We are enjoying your blog and the photos are great. Keep them coming. However we are glad Barbara’s wrist is on the mend, better that it happened in Canberra and not in Florence.

    • Hi Blue & Marg,
      Yes, it was much better to get that out of the way before we got over here, we always have a great time over here in Florence, I think this is about the 4th or 5th time we have been here, fantastic, glad you’re enjoying the blog.
      L & B

  4. Great to hear your news and see your photos – you do this so well.
    Looking forward to next instalment. Kneebone street quiet so far.

  5. HEY I had no idea you left a note after mine on Milano. Thanks….You are my first blogger cousin. I have no idea it works that way. YES it was so busy…plus it rained for the 3 yr olds birthday (surprise) so they ALL had to come in the house with parents too of course. It worked out though.
    WOW lovely photos again and glad to see you and Barbara in them. Sorry to hear about her arm…and yes, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY…
    Have a great time.


  6. Hi lance and barbara. Glad to hear your arm is on the improve. Wow guys! Pics are awesome and the relaxed vibe you are emitting is tremendous. Keep up the effort and have an amazing journey and holiday. Keep safe(no accidents) admire he scenery and let us see some more of the world trough your eyes(via pics). Cheers guys! Ross N

    • Hi Ross,
      Yes, we are relaxed even though we are tired, from all the walking, Italy is just fantastic in the summer. Glad you like the blog and pics., there will be more on the way, hope things are well with you.

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