Italy 2023 Day 9

19 Mar

Buona domenica ragazzi (happy Sunday kids)! It’s another beautiful day in the neighbourhood…for now. There’s a potential for some showers later this afternoon when we get to Florence, or as the Italians say, Firenze. Presently, we’re on our way to Bologna, which is 1.5-1.75 hours away to the northwest on the “Autostrada.” The plan is stop for a couple of hours there, which will give us a chance to look around a bit. Then it is another similar drive from Bologna to Florence. Hopefully the weather cooperates and we can have an enjoyable day.

It’s been a long and busy day, so I’m just getting around to finishing this as I settle into my room before bed. Although our visit to Bologna was very brief, it was a very pretty and impressive city. We walked from the bus station to the Piazza Maggiore through what are known as the Arcades, which are covered walkways beside the streets. From there we had time to explore parts of the city centre. Our chaperone group first paid a visit to the Basilica di San Petronio, a large and beautiful gothic church.

I wish we had more time in Bologna, but we had to hit the road to get to Florence, which many were excited to visit. We did pause for a short break at a roadside travel plaza, where we were able to grab some food and snacks for the rest of the drive. From my experience on past trips, and also this one, I must say that these establishments in Europe are quite impressive and actually nice to visit. This one was pretty good, and it was really the least nice one we’ve stopped at.

The drive from Bologna to Florence was quite fascinating I must say. Our route took us over the Apennine Mountains again, or I should say correctly, through them in many places. The highway was full of tunnels that were bored through the hills and mountains, some stretching on for kilometres. It is rather impressive to see what they did, as the roads are rather flat in this area, compared to all the hills that can be found back home.

When we arrived in Firenze, we proceeded from our drop off point to the Piazza della Signoria, with Kent providing some interesting info along the way. He did not want to say too much as we will have a guided tour tomorrow morning. Anyway, once we arrived at the Piazza, we then had a few hours to again explore the city centre. Our group proceeded past the Basilica di San Lorenzo to the Mercato Centrale (Central Market) where we hoped to find some good buys for ourselves and our families. 

Afterwards, we slowly worked our way back to the Piazza della Signoria, which took us past an absolutely impressive set of structures, the well-known Piazza del Duomo and the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. The cathedral dates back to the 13th century and is easily identifiable with its red tiled dome and coloured marble facade. I must say that I was speechless; I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a magnificent and unique church. I knew that this was a focal point in Florence, but I didn’t I’d be so awestruck by it.

Supper today was at La Vecchia Firenze, where we dined on spaghetti, salad and roast pork with potatoes. Dessert was a somewhat lacklustre ice cream something or other. It had started spitting before supper, and that continued as we left the restaurant for a 20 minute walk to our bus pick up location. Tonight we staying at the Hotel Grifone, which seems nice, but does not have a particularly great layout from a chaperone perspective. Hopefully the kids are tired and go to bed. 

Tomorrow is our last day, so hopefully the weather clears up so we can make the most of it (it is raining right now). We will be leaving Florence around 3:00 for the 4 hour drive back to Rome for another night at the hotel we stayed at for the start of our tour. With that in mind, I better turn in and get some sleep so I can enjoy the final bit of Italy. Until then…

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Posted by on March 19, 2023 in History, Travel


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