Monday, January 30

I am sitting in the Hotel Baglioni now trying to warm up after going on a tour for two hours.  We met at the ground floor of the hotel, which is floor zero here instead of floor one like back home.  We left at 15.30 which is 3:30 and returned at 17.30 which is 5:30.  Today the weather was brisk at 7°C (45°F) with a light mist in the air.  On the tour of Firenze (which is Florence in Italian) I took several pictures.  Many of the pictures turned out great because of the lighting since it was cloudy.  At least something good came from the weather.  Unlike yesterday I had to get a little more bundled up.  I wore my jacket with a warm winter scarf and leather gloves.  Leather gloves are a necessity here in Firenze all the Italians wear them.  I was so glad I packed them.  

Our tour guide Brigida (Bridget) walked us all around Firenze.  We started out at the Piazza S. Maria Novella where we were given head sets so we could hear her speak clearly. At this square there is the Basilica Santa Maria Novella which is one of the many, many churches in Firenze.  From there we walked down Via Belle Donne which means the street of beautiful women.  Where one of the first wine bars was. It was a little hole in the wall that they used to serve wine out of.  Thats where the idea started.  Now you can find wine bars all over!  That is on my list of things to do.

Next we went to Ponte Vecchio which is a famous bridge that crosses the Arno River.  The Arno River basically splits Firenze in half. on the north side there are most of the monuments and this is where most tourists usually hangout.  On the south side, this is usually where the local Italians live.  This is also where I will be living, right near the Arno river.  

From there we headed too the Piazza Signoria where there is a copy of Michelangelo's David in the place where the actual David used to be before it was moved into a museum.  At this square there are many other famous status like the Equestrian Monument of Cosimo I by Giambologna, the Fountain of Neptune by Bartholomeo Ammannati, and a few by Donatello as well.  These statues were by far the highlight of the tour for me.  I studied them in my art history classes and I actually got to see them in person today.. it was incredible.

Before the tour we had lunch at le Palle D'Oro where I had tortellini and meat sauce.  The pasta here is delizioso.  I even asked for my check in Italian.. il conto per favore which means the check please. Now we are waiting till cena (dinner) and we have a reservation at Ruba Conti.  Where they have unlimited pasta and wine for €15.  

Here are more of my photos!