We were going to go to Pistoia today, but we decided we’d moved around enough. And, we didn’t sleep well last night – getting to bed (for us) late due to the noise outside didn’t help. We’re changing rooms today to move to the rear of the hotel – not a nice view but much quieter we believe.

We headed towards the Arno from the hotel. We took some pictures of the outside of the Orsanmichele, which is just outside the hotel.

We walked towards Piazza Republica; I gave some change to a woman just starting to rough in a picture in pastel of a woman on the street. We stopped at our favorite cermics shop, Galleria Machiavelli (Via Por S. Maria 39r) and bought a few things; Aviva wants to redecorate the mantle over the fireplace, and Italian ceramics seem to be a key to her plan.

We crossed the Ponte Vechio, which was originally used by butchers but, due to the smell, changed by the Medicis to jewelers.

We turned right off the Ponte Vechio and stopped at a jeweler’s shop; Aviva bought a cameo ring, and we were to return at 6 PM as it needed to be resized. I looked across the street at a store selling chess sets.

We continued walking towards the Pitti Palace, turned right and ate a very nice lunch at a small trattoria that was serving a lot of the local workmen, located near Santo Spirito. After lunch we went to the Pitti Palace to go to the Boboli Gardens, which is behind the palace; entry was free (May 12 – 20).

The first grotto, Moses Grotto, is just past the entrance. The Grottos at the Gardens were designed like ancient Roman caves, as places for resting and meditating.

Aviva and I walked up the first level but then she chickened out and went back to the bookstore; I walked all the way up to the top, where there’s a small museum of the china and dining decorations from the Medici.

I got a wonderful panorama of the city of Florence from a hill in the Gardens.

A panorama of Florence from the Boboli Gardens - note the Duomo and the tower from the Palazzo Vechio to the right.

A panorama of Florence from the Boboli Gardens - note the Duomo and the tower from the Palazzo Vechio to the right.

We walked to Grotto Grande, which is the most famous one – we couldn’t go inside though.

On the way out we found a statue of Morgante the dwarf riding a turtle. When I walked up to it a woman was photographing it. I told her I looked like him, and she said no, I didn’t. So I told her she was right, I didn’t have a turtle.

We walked around for a while, then went back to the shop, Elli Peruzzi at Borgo San Iacopo, 48, to pick up Aviva’s cameo ring.

I bought a chess set from the shop across the street. We walked over to the open air market by Piazza Republica and bought a few things. We walked back the way we came in the morning and found the woman finishing up her pastel street drawing – like the sand mandalas, it goes away in the evening when the streets are cleaned.

We dropped stuff off at the hotel and had a nice dinner a couple of blocks away.


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