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  • Day339

    Day 340: Exploring Florence

    January 20, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Thankfully the weather had cleared today, so we headed out to do our filming. Unfortunately, it meant visiting many of the same spots we'd been to yesterday, only this time for the express purpose of filming which can be kind of frustrating at times, particularly for Shandos.

    Annoyingly, it was quite busy in town with a lot of tour groups roaming around. It was a sunny Saturday and I think plenty of locals were out in force too, so it was quite busy - probably the busiest place and most touristed place we've been in quite some time, maybe even since Cologne. Schnitzel was quite unsettled too, and despite being comfortably in his bag and being carried around, he just kept barking at all sorts of triggers. Normally he settles down and ignores them but today he just wouldn't.

    We ended up getting so frustrated with him that we eventually just took him back home and left him in the apartment. It would've had to happen anyway since we wanted to go inside a no-dogs park later, but his poor behaviour just accelerated the schedule. Had a delicious lunch at a sandwich place with very tasty cured meats and bread (I passed on the local specialty of sheep's stomach), then finished off our filming.

    We hadn't actually gone inside any of the main attractions (Duomo, town hall etc), but there were fairly long lines today and neither of us felt like queuing. Though apparently the Duomo in particular is quite plain inside, most of the treasures have been moved to separate (paid) museums.

    Filming largely done, we headed across the river to the Boboli Gardens which are attached to the Pitti Palace, largest residence of the Medicis. The gardens themselves are part of a separate world heritage site of Medici residences, though strangely that site doesn't include the palace, just the gardens! We spent a couple of hours wandering through the gardens and enjoying ourselves.

    Since they were early Italian Renaissance gardens, they had a big influence on garden design throughout Europe, particularly when the Medicis married into the French royal family and took their ideas with them.

    With the sun setting fast, we hiked up the hill nearby to Piazzale Michelangelo, where you get a fantastic view back across the city. We certainly weren't the only ones, as it was quite crowded up here but we managed to get a seat on some steps and enjoy the sunset. Lots of obnoxiously loud American college girls here for some reason, though they've been everywhere in Florence. I guess Italy is the obvious first European destination for Americans, and given their limited holiday time an itinerary of Rome-Florence-Venice makes the most sense. Just a bit strange!

    Having enjoyed the sunset with a beer from the handy nearby seller, we headed back down the hill and across the river into the city. Nothing to report from the evening, we stayed in and cooked pasta!
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