Firstly, my apologies for the poor editing in the previous postings, I will endeavour to ensure a much tighter proof reading this time!!Firenze, why do we Anglicise that lovely name? Firenze is a beautiful city, that deserved a return visit. So we bussed it from Lucca for the day armed with a 3 page email of things to do, supplied by a former supplier of Robert's. Ponte Vecchio bridge being too crowded due to summer holidays, we set about trying to locate one of the restaurants Gordon suggested. Off the tourist trails, we found a lovely oasis that served inexpensive, delicious food & wine. Two brothers from Kenya joined us and we were there for over two hours chatting, eating and drinking. One brother who knew Firenze well, persuaded us to follow them to a perfume shop. Sounds weird I know, but it was so worth the trust. The oldest perfumery in the world, established by Franciscan Friars. After a lovely day in Firenze we returned to Lucca for the night before travelling to Genoa. Not expecting much, we wandered the streets and found it a treasure trove of old narrow lane ways & buildings. Plus elegantly clothed people. We were here to meet former clients of Robert's, Ferdi & Alberto. Ferdi's wife runs a fish restaurant by the sea. We were treated to a scrumptious dinner, alfresco. The following day Alberto drove us through the Piedmont wine region and arranged a tour of a winery originally established by the first King of Italy. After lunch Alberto dropped us in Torino, as he lives an hour away in Asti.
The cathedral in Firenze is amazing. Huge queues to enter, so we headed to Ponte Vecchio instead.
I'm not sure who you should be admiring, the bridge or the man!
The interior of the perfumery. It was like stepping back in time. Everyone spoke quietly, individual, no rush service. Naturally some had to leave the shop with me.
Apologies for the blurring, the traffic was in a hurry. The unassuming front door to the store.
The rear view. Looks impressive, but the whole facade is painted to look three-D. The more we looked, many buildings in Genoa were like this.
Except on Via Garibaldi. Established by wealthy merchants in the 18th century. Many required a "palace" to live in. There are 43 in this street.
Many are stores like this second hand book shop. The decor is superb.
The ceiling in a different one. Quite incredible.
There were five rooms on this one floor all ornately decorated. The building had four levels. We couldn't view any more.
View of the city from a vantage point. Fabulous almost 360* views.
Lunch was needed after all the sight seeing. Not wanting to eat with the thousands of tourists we turned down a side street & a short way down, came upon this Osteria. Very little spoken English, however we made ourselves understood and enjoyed a sumptuous meal accompanied by some excellent Italian vino. One of the gentlemen pictured was having an aperitif after his meal. Robert said he'd have one too. This was a delicious liqueur made in Sardinia. Needs to be kept in the freezer. We were firm friends with everyone when we left. All up it was a lovely experience. The sort that makes travelling fun.
We aren't sure what this man was playing. Some sort of drum. The sound was a lovely low mellow hum, that reverberated through the narrow streets beside the cathedral in Genoa. It was fascinating.
So that's the last tour of Italy before the World Masters Games begin.
Arrividici 'til next time.