As we drove out of Florence into the Tuscan countryside for our wine tour (more on that later), we passed through the Porta Romana gate. In the middle of the traffic circle was this statue:
If you can't see it clearly, there is one female figure facing away from the city, while the figure on top is another woman who is looking back in the direction of Florence. According to our guide Emmanuele (aka Manny), the statue is meant to represent the love of Florence. Though you may go away and leave it, once you've fallen in love with this city you will always return, and you will carry Florence with you in your heart. You never fully leave.
Well. Talk about hitting close to home.
Although I've been carrying the torch for this city for more than a decade, I was stunned and dismayed at how memory had shrunken and faded it. I recalled the Duomo being large, but not this shockingly, jaw-droppingly huge. I remembered a long-ish walk from the city center to our apartment, but I had forgotten how long it truly was when you're hot and hungry and trying to get to Edi House. Everything was so vivid, so loud, so crowded, so hot. It was so much...more. More than I remembered, and more than I ever hoped I'd get to experience again.
It was ridiculously hot, but that didn't stop us from having three jam-packed, step-filled, food-focused, photograph-overloaded, wine-soaked days.
On Tuesday, June 30th, we only had a half-day because we had spent the other half in Pisa. After we got settled into our Airbnb (ah-mazing, btw), I dragged my parents through the city and across the river to the Boboli Gardens. We were in for a little surprise when we learned we could get into the Bardini Gardens with our ticket as well, which provided crazy incredible views of the city and the surrounding countryside (and some delicious homemade sangria and lemonade at the top).
We topped the evening off with a DIVINE dinner at Edi House. My parents joked that I screwed up because I gave them the most perfect first day in Florence, and there's no way the following days could compete. We also had a lovely last day in Florence simply wandering around, taking in the sights, and generally eating a lot more. And then there was our wine tasting tour in Tuscany...stay tuned...
P.S. Sorry not sorry for the 485,000 pics. This is actually me showing restraint here. I could've posted all 700. If you're not into photos, this may not be the blog for you.
P.P.S. Sorry for the delay, as well. As soon as I got back from the Family Eurotour 2015, I only had a couple of days before B and I turned around and headed to Spain for a long weekend. I'm playing catch-up now, so be patient!