Florence, Oct '12

Way back when we started planning our European adventure, this five week block in Florence was one of the first parts to get booked up. Looking back now, it's rather amusing that we didn't really know much about the area, but Pratiwi knew she wanted to spend some time in Tuscany and Florence seemed as good a base as any.

What with Autumn coming, I also thought it would be a good idea to be in/near a city with lots of cultural attractions to visit on those days we couldn't spend outside.

We probably got a bit lucky, as Residenza del Palmerino we chose had a beautiful little garden to enjoy, and also a larger 'field' out the back to relax in where we took a picnic or two - right on the doorstep. That said - the first days were a little trying as we got used to the vicious local mosquitoes. It seems that Tuscan mozzies are very hard to avoid so some planning was required to keep them at bay!

Another lucky break was that this accommodation turned out to be right at the bottom of a hill with many great cycling routes above. Roads up and down there felt like a maze sometimes, combine these with many other local options and I have to say that cycling from Florence turned out great!

Then as the Autumn weather began to tighten it's grip there were plenty of beautiful sights both in the city and nearby to enjoy. The forest near Vallombrosa was a highlight this time of year which was simply amazing!

Many thanks to our hosts and other residents for making this such a pleasant stay. Wonderful memories.


On the way to Fiesole: view to Florence from a short way up the hill. Pass this spot plenty of times on the bike smile


Invited to a Jack Glatzer violin recital this eve. Different & very nice. Some liked the excuse to dress up too wink


Stumbled across this colourful market today. Don't know what that half sandwich like snack is, but looks goooood! tongue


Home in Florence for a bit: Residenza del Palmerino. Nice 'formal' garden & field out back with views up to Fiesole.


Visit to Greve in Chianti. It's beautiful square was full of market stalls so only sharing the view from above. Nice!


Italian beer is OK, but luckily the German's are just over some hills. & a couple of countries wink Earned it today! grin


Lunch in Piazza del Campo. Hmmmm... Ossobuco wink Small look at the rest of town before we're back for gelato. Yum! tongue


Passing San Gimignano on the way home. Too late for look around, but nice view from there. Even in the fading light.


Game of conkers anyone? You find these lying all over the place here. Wouldn't have done when I were a lad! wink


Grey day. Time to hit the Bargello Museum. No pics allowed inside, but here's the courtyard... looking grey.


The Ponte Vecchio. Bored of seeing it lit up beautifully with sunshine? No chance of that today I'm afraid! sad


After a tough morning studying sculpture in the Bargello Museum - ahem! wink - lunch by Ponte Vecchio. Yum! tongue


After 2 weeks of playing in these hills above Florence, happened to stop at road works when the sun was out. Nice smile


Italian gardens are all about statues & hedges. So at the Boboli Gardens we saw lots of... erm... statues & hedges wink


Another café stop in Florence. Another beer, another coffee & another tiramisu. Yum! tongue


Today's ride: more cycling past olive groves in the Tuscan hills. These are near Doccia, NE of Florence. Very nice smile


Home made fresh pasta as a late lunch... or is that early dinner? Yuuuuuum... nom, nom, nom tongue


Random shots from a day trip to Lucca. Great little place to wonder around in the sun.


Lunchtime in Lucca. Then after walking it off, time for a little mid-afternoon dessert smile


Walls of Lucca. Spot Pratiwi for scale. Funny to stand here & think once this was the pinnacle of defence technology!


Tree tunnels are quite common in Europe & we love them. Here's a great example over a footpath in Lucca.


Italian parking: I double up on the outside of a circle. Pfft... novice! The master ½ on path by bus stop & crossing.


Relaxing in the garden amongst a few signs we are already in the middle of Autumn here. Lovely place to be smile


Today's ride to Passo della Consuma & Vallombrosa. Stunning autumn colours descending through forest near the latter.


After cycling through this forest the day before, had to go back with Pratiwi & the camera. Beautiful autumn colours!


The view from above: looking down on the forest around Vallombrosa.


Introducing Pratiwi to the joys of playing with autumn leaves smile


When walking in a forest and admiring the autumn colours... don't forget to look up!


Plenty of people were out on Sunday looking for these, & a couple today. Think we'll leave it to the experts though!


Few of the dishes on offer tonight. Dinner in 'The Cave' under our house with the other guests. Very nice it was too.


What a beautiful day. Perfect ride this arvo, then relax with little plate of cheese & 'saucisson' by the vines smile


A few scenes from Greve in Chianti before lunch. Lovely little village.


Macelleria Falorni, Greve in Chianti. On this site for almost 300 years! Best butchers shop I've ever been in!


San Gimignano from a hillside nearby. Shame about whoever that is having a bonfire - you can't win them all. Doh! sad


Love autumn colours in the vineyards. Great views everywhere in Tuscany at the mo. Well - year round I'm guessing!


San Gimignano: in time for a look about today. Tough place to shoot. Bright sky, lots of towers, lots of tourists!


Looking out from the walls of San Gimignano... beautiful Tuscan countryside.


Lunch at Casa del Prosciutto. Here's the entrée of... erm... prosciutto of course, plus some accompaniments tongue


Random walk in Florence today. Some skewed views of cathedral as we pass, trying (& failing) to avoid crowds. Busy!


In & around Piazza della Repubblica. Local's tip: La Rinascente has a top floor café with views over the rooftops.


Piazza della Signoria. Plus a couple from the terrace of the near by Uffizi Gallery (which is mentally exhausting!).


Remember when the postal service was cutting edge technology? From those days I guess: post office by Pd Repubblica.


Post Uffizi Gallery... Piazza della Signoria at dusk.


Back in Piazza della Repubblica. Oh, a merry-go-round. In the dark. Always good for a bit of photographic fun! grin


Wondering back to catch the bus home (20 mins from here)... Florence Cathedral by night.


A little treat this evening: Schwarzwald Imker honey schnapps (from our travels in Germany) & chocolate bread. Yum tongue