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Report 400: Viaggio a Roma

By Annie M from United States, Fall 2001

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Page 9 of 11: Giovedi, 1 novembre 2001 Day Trip to Florence

We get our wakeup call promptly at 6 am, have breakfast, check the weather report (they're predicting a cloudy day with a chance of rain), so we gather up our raingear and head off to Termini. The day, which started out overcast, turns out to be warm and sunny, like all of our other days in Rome.

We find our train, remember to validate our ticket, and settle ourselves comfortably in our first class window seats (facing each other, on the aisle). We're only going to Florence for the day and returning to our hotel tonight so we're traveling light - most of the other passengers have baggage, suitcases, backpacks, etc.

My cousin, Flavio, calls me on my cell phone and explains that there were no seats available on the train he originally intended to take so he'll be a little late but Annamaria and Rosanna are already in Florence (having arrived yesterday) and will be at the train station to meet us when our train arrives. The train ride to Florence is very quick and comfortable. Annamaria and Rosanna meet us at our binario and we go off to the chiesa S. Maria di Novella to attend Mass with them. After that we head to Piazza del Duomo and climb to the top of Giotto's Belltower - what a climb and what a view!!!! After that, we decide we've earned some refreshment.

Annamaria and Rosanna ask a flower market vendor for a recommendation of a good local restaurant and he directs us to the Ostaria del Boia on via Ghibellina. This was an excellent recommendation, we have the delicious vino rosso della casa, excellent gnocchi, some fettucini with veggies, mushrooms and pine nuts, and for dessert tiramisu and pannacotta. All the while, we're in contact with Flavio by cell phone and he is finally able to (breathlessly) join us and have some of the great gnocchi and dessert. From there we walk to the Palazzo Vecchio, across the Ponte Vecchio and then back toward the train station where we stop at a little cafe for espresso.

Annamaria and Flavio visited us in New York last year and they point out to us that we had taken them to the top of the Trade Center on September 22, 2000. They're very upset about the attacks and very sympathetic. They (and Rosanna) promise to visit us again in New York some day in the future.

We catch the 5:55 pm Eurostar back to Rome. This morning, the train was spotlessly clean with fresh flowers in the dining car. Now, at the end of the day, there are crumbs all over and the flowers are starting to wilt. (I'm feeling a little wilty myself!) The same crew from this morning is still working on the train. They recognize us and are very friendly.

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