Day 56 Firenze Here We Come!

We decided that we were not going to try to squeeze Florence into our week in Montepulciano…so it was off to Florence for a few days!  Before we left, Alex asked us if we would like to take a tour of his winery.  The winery was not on the same property that the farm house was on, but was close by.  There was another American family who had come to the farm Thanksgiving eve.  They had two children about the same age as Reid and he was thrilled!  They had  spent some time playing together in the yard, and yes with the cats too!  So he was super excited about the thought of spending a bit more time with his new friends!  I was excited that I was going to get to go to a winery…not something that Russ traditionally will do with me…so I wanted to take advantage of this! So we left we a few bottles…well stocked for the remainder of the trip!

After a wonderful and informative time at the winery, we were off to Firenze…oh yes that is what Florence is called in Italy…so don’t look for any signs that say Florence!  I was excited!  To me Florence equates to art and culture…the Renaissance!  We were staying in the old part of the city…within walking distance of all the sights!  The only problem…you cannot bring a car into the old part of the city…and we had Jacques!  Let me just say that even though our host had told us where to park…it was not easy to find!  When we did find the recommended parking lot…it looked a bit sketchy!  Of course Rick Steves really pays special attention to rental cars getting broken into in his Italian guidebook, so I was determined we were not going to have that happen to us…but the question was where to park that was safe??? Around and around we went…and nothing puts you in a better mood than being in a city you don’t know, trying to find a place to park…it’s awesome!  We found a parking place…got out our stuff and set off to find our apartment.  We walked and we walked and we walked…until finally on a narrow street…with an equally narrow sidewalk…we found the building.  When we called the host, he said he would meet us there in about 20 minutes.  We squeezed onto the sidewalk and waited.  As we waited, we got to witness Italian parking at it’s finest!  Cars squeezing in and out of spaces that are not large enough for a Vespa.  Crowds gathered trying to help each other pull in and out of these crazy small places…it was a sight to behold.  I almost wanted to stand up and applaud as some of the cars navigated safely into their nooks… We waited and waited and waited!  Russ called the host again…he would be there in 1o minutes.  Okay, well now it is getting dark and I feel a sprinkle.  Now, to say my mood was not the best would be putting it nicely!  But honestly, what do you do?? If you get really angry, do you cancel your reservation??  If you do, then what??  You are kind of screwed!

Well…long story short…we were waiting at the wrong apartment. Ha!  So after about 90 minutes, and 5 flights of stairs, we found our apartment.  It turns out our host was not there to meet us, but the non-English speaking cleaning lady.  We communicated the best we could…but basically just got the key and she left.  We were happy to be in our apartment…finally!

We decided to walk around and get a lay of the land!  We had on good authority from Papa Bill and Kay that there is a delicious pizza place in the city that we had to try!  So we thought that tonight would be a great night to try it!  The restaurant was about two miles from where we were staying…a couple miles of twists and turns…down charming streets, across interesting bridges, we got a real tour of the city on our way there!

When we got to the restaurant we were about an hour early!  There was a cafe across from the restaurant, so we decided to grab a seat and wait for it to open.  As we waited we saw a steady stream of people try to go into the restaurant, so I knew that it had to be good…plus a seal of approval from P.B. is always a plus!  If you know what a stress case I can be, I started to panic and worry that we were not going to get a table because we did not have a reservation…so about 15 minutes before it opened, I walked over and waited.  When I was standing there, I saw someone go in, and I realized they were putting their name on the “list”…I really wasn’t sure what that meant, but I knew I needed to get our name on the list!  I finally worked up the courage to walk into the closed restaurant and ask to be put on the list for a table…they told me that if we came back right when they opened, we could have a table…well I knew that was not going to be a problem…because I was waiting right outside the door!!

So 7:00 rolled around and Russ finally got up from the cafe to join us in line…and then it was our turn to be seated!  We got a cozy table in the back!  The service was great…and we had some seriously delicious pizza!!!  It was a great night!  Worth the wait for sure!  Then we walked back to our apartment…with a quick stop for some gellato first!  When we scaled the 5 flights up to our apartment, we noticed it was cold…really cold…