Sunday, July 1
I got up at 7, caffeinated, and we spent an hour at the Internet spot across from our hotel. Then we had another latte and a cornetto at the corner caffe, and I read while Brad went out in search of new reading glasses, after losing his yesterday (now a tradition in Italy). He returned quickly with two new very attractive pair of cheaters. While I sat in the caffe, I had a lovely surprise of a “Welcome to Italy” phone call from Slow Travel friend, Jane in Greve.
We walked to the Furla store looking for a white handbag. Eureka! After our VERY patient sales girls brought out at least a dozen bags, I ended up buying two purses, a necklace, earrings, a fun watch, and a pair of flip-flops with dangling heart charms (hoping these might accommodate my festering blister). We still had an hour before our 1:00 lunch reservation, so we PAINFULLY walked to the Arno in search of a cold drink. My blister on my bunion is now purple, the size of a grape, and ripe to burst. Brad seems to have a theory, that I walk just FINE with a little vino. We sat at Harry’s Bar, and I found comfort in a glass of prosecco, while Brad enjoyed a beer.
Lunch at I Latini was a fun experience. We started with racioli and penne with meat sauce. Our secondi were a delicious roast pork with delicately fried zucchini blossoms. When I began speaking Italian to our waiter, we received a more attentive level of service, and all of our food was great. We had a bottle of wine from Sardenia, and I bought Brad a cigar ashtray with a rendition of the restaurant in the center. We took a short rest after lunch.
At 4:00. We got our car from the garage, and drove to the Oltrarno to pick up Sheri and Joe for our ride to Fiesole. The GPS got us to Piazza Carmine, and then to the glorious Villa San Michele. As we drove up, the driveway was lined with Bentleys, Porsches, Ferraris and top of the line BMWs. The façade of this 15th centuray monastery was designed by Michaelangelo. We entered the lobby, and to get to the bar, walked up onto an altar, then turned through a portal leading to the monastary’s dining room, and out to a stunning loggia overlooking Florence in the distance. I explored the grounds with terraced gardens bursting with flowers.
We parked ourselves on this terrace for the next 2.5 hours, where the ladies enjoyed prosecco, and later, coffee, and the guys had a beer, and our driver, Brad, switched to Coke Light. We had the lovliest SLOW conversations in this gorgeous and relaxed setting.
We returned to Florence at 8:00 and went to see Sheri and Joe’s large apt. at Residenza Il Carmine, and then returned to our hotel. Brad was great at navigating traffic in Florence, and only ran one red light that we know of. We had a quick snack of a proscuitto and fontina foccace and walked to the nearest gelato shop. I had a scoop of dolce latte, and Brad had “Mr. Nico” (peanut and chocolate). We were asleep by 11:00.