I’m enjoying Florence so much more than I thought  I would. It’s not quite as crowded as I imagined and it’s so beautiful. We visited the Pitti Palace and were so early we got into the gardens before anyone else. It was glorious. We have walked along the streets in the footsteps of the Medicis .
I just downloaded a book about the Medici family so will be absorbed for a few days.

Sunday night we went over the river to find a restaurant a local lady we met had told us about. We  got to the piccolo piazza and found them setting up for a concert. We got a great table and were given yet another complimentary Prosecco ” gratis della casa” . The restaurant was called quatro leoni and the place was jumping. We sat outside with a view across the piazza and just watched the evening unfold with mostly locals dropping by for a drink or …….

Whilst they waited for the concert to begin. We thought it would start around 8 as the band were on and off the stage tuning, fixing lights, having a ciggi, drinking vino, chatting to locals etc. so we enjoyed our antipasti, our vino della casa, the pollo alla limone, vedura etc.  it was a constant floor show for us.
We saw lovers  kissing, children running, a man making pork rolls ( like a BBQ only better) waiters flying around, people choosing seats for the concert, oldies greeting each other with cascades of kisses, people of all ages licking gelato,  ladies in lovely linen dresses reserving seats for their friends, a lady with her dog taking up a whole seat and no one seeming to mind.

The camera man had the stage and at times the audience projected onto the white wall of the ancient building behind, just above the holy water font on the wall. We waited and waited and 8-8.30 and even 9 came and no concert , just a bit of tuning up by the various members of the band. The drummer was a George Clooney Italian style look a like, ( sigh)  a cute female keyboard player, male sax player in a Hawaii type shirt, a flute player looking like a sixties flower child, a long haired guitarist, and a groovy lead guitar with a little hat on.
Well the concert finally started with a L.  o.  n.  G.  Speech made by a good looking local followed by an even longer one by his off sider.  Finally it started at 9.50 and every one seemed happy  -except by now we were tired. Seats became scarce and someone wanted the dogs seat. So the owner lifted it on toher lap. Every one got up – moved  along and let a little old lady into sit down. They are so kind to their older people .
After several songs of a very Italian nature we decided the show for us was over! We walked back
through the streets still alive with those enjoying the wonderful weather along the river Arno.

What a night. 

Lovely Lucca to Fabulous Florence

After our great day with Sue and P-L in Torre del Lago and Via Reggio we had a final dinner at a courtyard restaurant where we ran into Frances and Jeanie from our Italian school. We returned home and packed and were ready to farewell Lucca by 9 the next morning. We successfully called a taxi to the bus and and hour and ten mins later were in Firenze. Our walk to the hotel was a little longer than planned. Yes we took a wrong turn! But it is a short 5 min walk in a quiet street .  Wouldn’t you know it the San Lorenzo markets are at the end of our street! We  went to lunch at a lovely little trattoria while our room was being cleaned.
The hotel – aptly named City Hotel is really good. Not too expensive , good location and rooms are clean and big enough for two. Breakfast proved to be a winner as well.
After lunch and unpacking we headed out in the heat for the Duomo.
We visited the Bapistry first and then noticed the Duomo was closed . Disappointed we wandered the nearby street until nearly 5 when the advertised Mass was about to start. Remembering  a similar thing in Prague, I suggested to Catherine we approach the guard at the side door and ask to attend the Mass. Sure enough he let us in while the other tourists stood behind the ropes wondering who we were and why we got in! Mass was peaceful and cool and lovely. As it turned out it was the weekly English Mass.
After Mass we had our usual Prosecco and people watching session before going into a nearby little tiny church where we had seen a sign advertising an organ concert. It was wonderful sitting listening to gorgeous music.
We walked home finding a very old little family owned restaurant and had a delicious meal. Ran into Anette Allen’s husband Mark. Small world.