Buon giorno from Italy!
Friday March 1 saw us flying into Florence to celebrate Lance’s birthday. Unknown to him we were booked into our favourite Florentine hotel, ‎Hotel Torre Guelfa, which many years ago provided us with a safe haven on a cold, wet and windy night. This is a gorgeous hotel in a 13 century building with the tallest private tower in Florence. We enjoyed climbing the tower and the panoramic views of Florence. Birthday dinner was celebrated in the first restaurant we ate in many years ago in Florence.

(Click on photo to see gallery)


Next morning we caught the bus to Fiesole a small village in the north eastern hills. Bit of a hassle finding the bus, it had been moved due to a route change, but eventually we got there. We did a long walk through the narrow lanes of Fiesole and the forests and ended up at the Fattoria di Maiano for lunch. We have also stayed here before, We had a superb lunch with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. Then it was back to Florence, walking down the hill, to move into our Airbnb, which proved to be everything we had hoped for. The street view from the room was of Por Santa Maria (it continues down to the Pont Vecchio – we were about 200m from the bridge)

Sunday we woke to the sounds of drums and looking out the window, saw the parade of costumed guards complete with cannon marching to the Palazzo Vecchio for the The Changing of the Guards. This continued all morning. We decided we would go to Piazza Michelanglo and see David (version of), and 2 churches. We arrived back in the city walking through the Palazzo just as a spectacular performance of flag throwers began. There were 4 teams performing, 2 from Florence and 2 from Umbria. It drew a huge crowd and was really spectacular and fun.


On Monday we decided to hire a car and head off to Monteriggioni to explore the castle, medieval village within the walled village and eat truffles at Osteria Antico Travaglio (Lesley & Dean’s recommendation), thank you!
We hired a Fiat 500 which was lots of fun, enjoyed exploring the castle and village and B particularly enjoyed the truffles and chianti (L missed the wine, being the designated driver)

Tuesday we decided to do our own things in the morning and meet for a very late lunch. B hit the designer stores of which there are many, and visited galleries, and L went on a photography safari. So B could get another hit of truffles we went to Mangiafoco Osteria Tartuferia for dinner. Excellent food and excellent truffles and chianti.
Florence is an amazingly beautiful city with so much to see and do.

Barbara & Lance