Days 7, 8 & 9 Florence & Pisa

  Florence is a Renaissance city full of history! We had two days with our local tour guide, Paulo, walking the city, visiting museums and galleries, and churches.  We learned all about the history of the Medici family and their incredible wealth of art and family dynamics. On our free time we visited saw more museums and churches including the Baptistery, wandered across the Arno River checking out all the jewelry shops on the Ponte Vecchio and visited the Pitti Palace.

Our tour guide in Florence was Paulo.  His knowledge of art history and Florence was phenomenal!

We climbed the Duomo's Dome, all 463 steps! As I was plastered to the side of the dome, John took pictures of the city! Scary, yes!!!! But incredible scenery and views! Mark that one off the bucket list! 

Street Artists

We had two wonderful dinners here in Florence. Our group meal was in a small restaurant off the beaten path.  Daniella has been here many times and the owner/chef came out to greet us! We were taken well cared of by the staff and the food was wonderful!

A porchetta sandwich is a must do! My goodness, this is one of the best tasting sandwiches I have ever had! 

The owner and Daniella

Main Course

Dessert, yum!

Three different types of pasta

Our salad was prepared in front of us

We joined some of our tour group for our other meal.  I previously mentioned that reservations are always a good idea.  We didn't for this restaurant as we joined our group last minute.  When we arrived, there were no tables.  We added our name to the wait list and after watching an empty table for 10 or so minutes we asked about it.  They said it had a reservation at 9PM (and it was 7:45).  Can we have it if we leave by 9?  Well of course! Bingo!!!! We now have a table! Wow! Sometimes it's worth asking.

Baby octopus in a red sauce

Bistecca alla Fiorentina: A famous Tuscan specialty, this is a thick-cut T-bone steak seasoned simply with salt, grilled over a wood fire, and typically served rare to medium-rare. One word.....incredible.  You need to share this with someone else....maybe 2 or 3 others.

We had the best tour "mates" we could have asked for! We were from all over the country, but we had one thing in common, seeing a new country and meeting new people!

Fun interior with the walls and ceiling covered in "graffiti". Reminded me of Gino's East, a famous pizzeria, in Chicago.

Photo bomb by Jo!!!!

More delicious seafood risotto.

I still think my octopus dish was my favorite of the whole trip.....I think! Well, that might be a lie as there were so many incredible meals over this trip.


Pisa is a small community. As you walk up to the entrance there is a wall on the left and both sides of the street are filled with vendors of all kinds.   As you walk through the entrance the leaning tower of Pisa is at the far end of "the Field of Miracles". Here you will also be able to visit the Duomo, which is absolutely beautiful, the camposanto, the baptistry and the Duomo museum. The day we were there was not too crowded, so we were able to see everything easily.  We walked into the small-town area across from the Duomo Museum and to find sandwiches for lunch.  Then we were back on the bus for our final destination, Cinque Terre!!!!

We had a great time in Florence and left with a wealth of information, history and great food to reflect on! On to a visit to Pisa and then on to Monterosso and Cinque Terre.  

The Duomo.  Rick Steve's audio tour was very helpful here.

The inside of the Duomo was beautiful.

We picked up a quick sandwich in this little cafe.