travel bug: europe, part iii

After lunch at ‘ino, we wandered over to the Ponte Vecchio to Oltrarno (the neighborhood on the other side of the arno from central Florence).

The Ponte Vecchio houses lots of little shops and attracts lots of tourists (especially since the sun decided to make its first appearance of the day!).

After snapping a picture of the Arno river (like a good tourist should!), we made our way to the Pitti Palace and it’s beautiful Boboli Gardens to get a peak at what central Florence looks like from afar.

We popped into a gelateria to grab a cone of frozen goodness (again, like any good tourist should!) and stumbled upon a side entrance to the gardens. We paid the entrance fee and started meandering through the beautifully manicured gardens.

The gardens are lush and expansive, covering some 11 acres, with pathways leading to various sculptures peppered throughout the grounds.

We made our way to the top of the gardens to see what we could see. Oh my, it was breathtaking.

After taking it all in, we made our way to the palace (its that big building in the forefront of the above picture) and wandered through a few rooms before deciding we wanted to spend more time in the sun. We weren’t sure exactly what we wanted to do, so we just stared wandering along the Arno and eventually stumbled upon something amazing:

Ok, I know it doesn’t look amazing, but that tower lead us to views that were even more impressive than the ones we saw at Boboli. At the base of this very tall tower are the little cave-like arches that keep some very lucky pigeons dry.

There were some steps nearby that led up to a road that we decided to wander up, and then we started to thank whatever spirit guide led us towards that tower because we saw this:

So we kept walking up and up, finally reaching the top of the hill. We were rewarded with a panoramic (360 degree!) view of Florence:

Wow, right?

We wandered back to our hotel, after swinging by our dinner spot, Trattoria del Fagioli, to make sure we knew where we were going later on. And we crashed. All that wandering made our bodies (especially our feet!) TIRED. Fortunately, we had a big reason to rest up: we were meeting friends for dinner! Brian was the best man in Matt and Lacey’s wedding earlier in May (Cinco de Mayo!) and we serendipitously ended up in Florence while they were in town for part of their Italian Honeymoon Adventure. We had a wonderful dinner at Fagioli – the owner took the time to walk us through the entire menu telling us all about every little thing. We ate and drank and shared stories of our Italian vacations so far (they just came from Cinque Terre, where we were headed next!). It was a great end to a wonderful day.

Next up: our last day in Florence!

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