We drove to Orvieto this morning, a gorgeous fortified town on top of a hill in Tuscany. We saw the cathedral started in the 14th century (and finished over 300 years later!), including a few frescoes inside of poets Dante, Virgil, Horace, and Ovid! We then had a chance to explore the town on our own and grab lunch. I ended up eating at a lovely little place with Seth & Melanie, Lucy (a parent), and the Lagors, and enjoyed an amazing pasta with rabbit ragu, as well as baked artichokes, wine and an amazing risotto with radishes and cheese—one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Italy. I followed this up with a wonderful hot chocolate from a shop down the street. It’s basically liquid chocolate (it thickens after a few minutes in the cup) with unbelievable homemade cream on top.
The drive through Tuscany was beautiful (and a little sleepy J), and we arrived in Florence around 4. We first took in the entire city from the Piazzale Michelangelo on the top of a hill across the Arno. What a view of the city, the river, and the surrounding mountains! From there we headed to check in at our hotel, the Tornabuoni—a four-star hotel, formerly a Medici palace, on a fancy street of expensive shops one block from the river.
Henry took us on a (cold) walk around some of the major landmarks, including the Piazza della Repubblica, the Baptistry (with the still-in-renovation gold doors of Ghiberti, currently replaced with fakes), the Tower of Giotto, Brunelleschi’s Dome, and the Piazza della Signoria (including the spot where Savonarolla was burned at the stake, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Loggia, and the outside of the Uffizi). Dinner was a ragu pasta, pork and potatoes, salad, and a little ice cream dessert, and then we continued our walk by visiting the Ponte Vecchio and getting some gelato.
Definitely a couple of beautiful places today, and I look forward to seeing the real David statue tomorrow and further exploring Florence!