Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall wedding fashion in Florence

In my exploration of different streets in Florence I came across a beautiful wedding dress store. The fashions here are fabulous. They have little fur shawls and long flowing coats for weddings in fall and winter.
I tried to take some close up photo's to show you the detailed work.

Some (non-catholic) religious sights in Florence

I have discovered that you really must go down the streets you cross everyday when you head to the centre of Florence (don't forget your map). I headed towards the centre yesterday for some last photographs before we go back to Australia. Instead of going down the street I normally take for the Duomo, I noticed the Chiesa Russa (Russian Orthodox Church)tiled turrets sticking up above the other buildings in the area we are staying. I have passed this sight 100 times and never walked down the road to have a closer look at the chiesa. Yesterday, I did. I went with my camera in my hand ready to take photo's. You can see the turrets from the main road then as you head down you cannot see it anymore until you come to the street the chiesa is on and then you turn and there it is a beautiful building with colourful tiles and gold leaf. It was closed to the public on Wednesdays of course (many buildings and sights in Florence do this). But I could take photo's of it from outside the 3 metre fence (even if I capture a few cars as well).

Iain thought the chiesa was pretty impressive also. He read the information sheet (or tried too, the English part had been torn off). I try to photograph the information sheets that are posted up around important art and architecture, so even if it is in another language I can have it translated.

After viewing the chiesa, we went further down the street to find modern buildings with graffiti on them (paid for graffiti), it looked a little out of place, but still interesting.

Further down the street we came upon Piazza della Liberta

After almost reaching the centre we found ourselves on the street where the only Jewish synagogue is situated in Florence. It has wonderful domes made of brass that over time has turned a wonderful green colour.

There are many different religious sights in Florence, with talks of a new Muslim Mosque being built (5000 muslims congregated at the Fortezza da Basso recently for collective prayer).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

EUROCHOCOLATE...for lovers of chocolate!

Here is an event that I will sadly miss. It is in Perugia, Italy. Check out the link for event dates and times and information. Looks delicious! Eurochocolate

Wine Town Event 30 September-3 October

Here is an event I have just heard about that looks very interesting. My husband and I will be attending.
The WineTown event is where you can taste many different wines from the region. You purchase a card with 10 euros credit on it and receive a glass for the tastings. There is also a 30 euro card available that allows you not only to taste the fabulous wines but also to gain entry into participating museums.
So if you are in Florence this weekend this is a must see event.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The people I have met in Florence

This morning I decided I would introduce you to a few of the people I have met here in Florence.
We have only now been meeting face to face, due to the fact that we arrived in Florence at holiday time and everyone goes away from the city.
The first person I met was Kimberly online through . I was asking for information on what to do with the kids while in Florence and also information on life in Florence, because as you all know I want to move to Italy for at 1 year to experience life and culture somewhere else. Kimberly is from the USA and has been living in Italy for 7 years. I met Kimberly face to face the other night at a Moms Mingle dinner at a lovely restaurant on the Arno River We have since arranged a dinner at Kimberlys house with her husband and 2 sons (the boys are excited to have other boys to play with). We are looking forward to seeing someone else's house in Florence in the San Frediano area.
The second person I met also online was Paola from . Paola is born and bred Italian and runs a tour company with her husband in Florence. I recommend using her tour company for more intimate tours of Florence (Paola has vans for tours and takes small groups). We also met face to face at the Moms Mingle dinner. We met eachother the next afternoon at the park near to both our houses, for our children to have a play. Allegra (Paolas 4 year old daughter) was afraid of the boys, she is so cute. Iain and I had a wonderful conversation with Paola about living in Florence and what our possible work options could be. Paola was very informative and very helpful.
And of course we met our neighbours that live in the top apartment in our building, Massimo, Annalisa, Irini(13 year old daughter) and Andrea(11 year old son). We have spent a little bit of time with them here in Florence and in Paris also. The day we met we found out we were all going to be in Paris at the same time, so we all spent the day at the Menagerie (zoo). On Saturday night we had the pleasure of having a dinner party at Massimo and Annalisa's with some of their friends. It was fun and we got to answer many questions about Australia and try to use as much Italian as we could (the friends did not speak English). We had wonderful pasta and a beautiful ragu that Massimo spent 3 hours cooking. It was an excellent experience, we really enjoyed it.
I also met Gabriella at the Moms Mingle, she runs a Bed and Breakfast in the centre of the Florence called Il Bargello. I have been told that it is a beautiful building with fantastic views from the terrace over the Duomo and the city.
We have met many people on our long holiday in Italy, some from Italy, UK, USA, France, Spain and of course Australians too.
Now we only have 2 1/2 weeks left here, we are heading to Asti next week to spend some time with our landlady Paola in her house with her husband Sergio. They are planning to take us to the mountains nearby. Paola has been collecting coats and shoes for us to wear in the mountains from her friends and family so that we don't have to purchase anything.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One night in Pisa

13-14 September 2010

We arrived in Pisa after our flight from Paris at about 11.30pm so we hailed a cab at the airport and went to our hotel for the night. We decided to spend a night in Pisa because we thought it would be too difficult to catch a train at 1am and walk from Florence Santa Maria Novella Station at 2.30am to our apartment. So we booked a room at a hotel near Pisa Centrale. When we arrived at the hotel the concierge said he did not have a reservation for us and he was fully booked for the night. (Grrrrr) I was not happy and my computer would not load up quickly enough for me to show him the email I got saying we had a reservation. Anyway the concierge called another hotel nearby and got us the same deal with breakfast (apparently we were saving 30euros). So with 2 cranky and tired children we gathered up our luggage and walked (yes, walked) from the hotel at least 250m down the road, turn left at the piazza and look for the sign saying Minerva Hotel. The least the concierge could’ve done at that time of night (now midnight) was pay for a taxi to take us. I know 250m doesn’t sound like it far but at that time of night with 2 children and 3 suitcases and a backpack it is not fun. (GRRR).

Anyway the new hotel was very nice and spacious and we had a lovely breakfast when we woke. We walked to the train Station and bought tickets through the self service machine. It costs around 6euro each for adults and 3 euros each for children 4-11years old. So if you are staying in Florence and you want to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa (without paying 100euros each for a tour) you can visit Pisa in a day by train to Pisa Centrale and use the Red line bus to get to the Leaning Tower (this way will cost less than 100euros for the family). There are trains going to and from Pisa Centrale to Florence all the time.

After a 1 - 1.30 hour train ride we were back ‘home’ in our apartment in Florence. And happy to be back in familiar surroundings and the comfort of home. Although very sad to be out of Paris.

We spent a few days relaxing at home in Florence before packing our swimmers and bags for the Cinque Terre.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I have made some changes to this blog.

Hi everyone following our travels in Europe (mostly Italy).

I have decided to keep this blog strictly for everything we do in Italy. In particular the beautiful city of Florence (Firenze) in Tuscany (Toscana).

I will be adding some links to websites that I have found very helpful and to some that I find interesting. There will also be links to some of my new friends businesses here in Florence.

Please if you book anything from one of these links let them know that you found them on Florencebound.

Thank you,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It was hard leaving Rome, we really enjoyed the city.

Last day in Rome
We didn’t have to get the train back to Florence until 12:36 so we took our time packing up and tidied the apartment. We headed out to buy some bus tickets to the train station that cost only 1euro each a saving of 21euros in a taxi. But my idea with the taxis is that when you arrive in a new city and your accommodation is within the city spend a little extra cash and have the taxi drop you off at your door, then while you are there you can work out the transport situation.
At 11:00 we left the apartment and caught the bus just around the corner, the ticket validating machine on the bus did not work so when we arrived at the Termini station I handed the tickets to another tourist and said “enjoy”. They were very grateful for the generous offer.
We were at Termini early so we had lunch at McDonalds and watched to old ticker machine to see what platform (binari) our train was going to leave from. The platform was not announced until about 5 minutes before departure and it was the closest platform to us. It did not take very long to find our carriage (carrozza) and seats (sedi) and we were off.
If you ever has the chance schedule Orvieto as a city you must see in Italy, it is a hilltop town that is the most amazing I have seen from the trains so far. It is between Florence and Rome.
We arrived back in Florence at about 16:00 and walked 30 minutes from the train station to our home in Florence.