Our morning started with no wifi connection; Lorenzo, the landlord, was very helpful and kept working on solving the problem until we again had service. Amazing how attached we are to the Internet; whatever happened to the times when we traveled and said to the family back home: "no news is good news"....we'll only contact you if there is a problem.
We carry two small backpacks and a shopping bag when we go to the store to bring everything home. Spent a short time on the wifi that was now working and then about two o'clock we were out the door again.
We walked along the river to the Ponte Vecchio where we started to follow the Rick Steve's Tour Book guide for a walk through the Oltrarno Neighborhood south of the Arno River. It was an opportunity to get a sense of rustic, old Florence. Heading west from the bridge we stayed along the river at first,
We then headed away from the river in to the neighborhood, pausing to peek into small shops; some were closed and others were open. One shop owner invited Jim in and told how his grandfather had begun the business in 1947.
On into the Plazza Santo Spirito after a fast look up the street at the Pitti Palace (save that for another day). Their Friday Market was just closing and there were many people still enjoying lunch at the many different restaurants that spill out into the streets in cordoned off seating areas. Following Rick's advice we found the Ricchi Cafe and went inside to look an the many different renderings by artists of what they thought the very plain church could look like to improve the piazza.
Our next stop was in the Piazza dei Carmine where there is a very plain looking church with the very beautiful and famous Brancacci Chapel attached to it. The paintings inside of the chapel were done by several artists but the one who completed the chapel and pulled the art together was Massaccio.
Back on the tour we followed Rick's directions and headed over to see the Porta San Frediano; a door into old Florence from the west. Created in 1333, it is one of several gates in the medieval wall which still stretches from this gate to the Arno River. Massive wooden forty foot doors still hang in the opening. Back towards the east we continued the tour until we reached one bridge that had an ice cream shop (Gelleto) with twenty some people standing in line to get one of their cones! We enjoyed the view from the bridge and then continued up the road to the next bridge that is the last one on the west side before the Ponte Vecchio.
Staying on the north side of the bridge we commenced walking east towards Santa Croce Church for a visit for Good Friday, it was nearly four o'clock and the tabernacles are open and empty from now until Easter Sunday. Along the way we accidently found the market that has the brass boar that you rub for good luck and to ensure that you'll come back to Florence again. A quick rub, dropped a coin and then walked quickly through the market before continuing our walk.
Soon we were home and in checking our milage we set a new record for walking; today we hit 8.29 miles. It's getting late and time for closing this very long journal. Thanks for sharing our adventure with us...
Link to Picasa Photo Album