Before abandoning my trip reports last week to go on a political tirade, Mr. Husband and I were still roaming the streets of Florence, Italy. And as you’ll recall, that roaming was done in a complete daze due not to cheap Italian wine, but to insomnia. Well, let’s just say our mental states weren’t improving as time went on.

Party Time!!! Really?

Part of our plans for our time in Florence was to take a day trip to wander the walls of Lucca and perhaps spend another half day in the nearby town of Fiesole to gawk at some Roman ruins. Both of these plans fell through thanks to complete exhaustion. And this bone-deep weariness wasn’t just jet-lag induced. Actually, by the third night I headed to bed, fell quickly to sleep…and had a wonderful two hours of sleep.

Then the party started. The very loud and very long party.

This was at midnight on a Wednesday night. Not that our upstairs neighbor (he of the lead feet and stone shoes) was ever quiet, but then he invited about a million of his closest and loudest friends over. Ugh. I complained to the owner of the vacation rental and he talked to the guy, but there was just no escaping how noisy the apartment was and how little sleep I was getting.

Let me tell you, the brain does some funky stuff when it doesn’t get its proper amount of downtime. Not only was I worried I would never sleep again, but I became very certain I read somewhere that lack of sleep could cause you to have a heart attack. This brought on some serious paranoia. My body wasn’t doing much better – every step I took felt like I was walking through molasses.

By the fourth night, I just couldn’t take it anymore – especially as I was pissed that this noise (and the accompanying lack of sleep) was keeping me from enjoying my well-planned-out itinerary. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning on the fifth day I sent an email to the owner of the place in our next destination to see if he could let us check in a day early. I had high hopes for this plan because the description and reviews said how quiet the place was. I SOOOOO needed quiet.

His first response was no, the place was booked. I replied in Italian explaining our situation and he offered to help find us a place (this wouldn’t be the last bit of super-friendly service the guy would offer). Several emails back and forth (which were really taxing the language skills of my now-barely-functioning brain) and he said he could get us in a day early. If I had had the energy I would have done a happy dance.

So we endured one more night in the Land of Noise and then ditched our Florence apartment a day earlier than planned to head for the Umbrian hills. More on that portion of our adventures next week, but for now, it’s time for a little photo tour of Florence….

Along the Arno

Our apartment was in the Oltrano, which is the “other” side of the Arno from the main tourist center of Florence. This, according to guide books, is supposed to be the quiet side of town. Liars.

Arno, Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia
Florence at night along the Arno River

Being on this side of the river, we crossed the Arno almost every day and many of these trips were over the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge). The bridge is lined with shops that were once all butcher shops. In 1565, one of the Medicis decided he wanted to connect the Palazzo Vecchio to Pitti Palace via a private walkway. Part of the walkway goes through what is now the Uffizi Gallery and then continues across the top level of the Ponte Vecchio (this path is called the Vasari Corridor, named for its architect).

Arno, Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, Ponte Vecchio
Sunset view of the Ponte Vecchio.

Apparently this Medici had delicate senses and he didn’t approve of all the blood and stench that went along with the slaughter taking place on the bridge below his feet. Deciding that gold and gems smell better and are far prettier than offal, he closed down the butcher shops and put jewelry shops in their place. The Ponte Vecchio is still lined with shops selling all sorts of sparklies.

Arno, Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, Ponte Vecchio
And another sunset shot of the bridge.
Arno, Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, Ponte Vecchio
A stroll along the Ponte Vecchio

In the Piazza della Signoria

Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, Piazza della Repubblica
Piazza della Signoria (Palazza Vecchio at the right)
Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, Piazza della Repubblica, Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio’s tower. The Palazzo was built in the 14th century.
Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, Piazza della Repubblica
The inner courtyard of the Palzzao Vecchio. You have to pay to go into the Palazzo, but you can stroll around this courtyard for free (one of the rare “free” sites in Florence).
Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, Piazza della Repubblica, Loggia
Violence under the loggia!

A Few More Dome Photos

I know I’ve already covered the Duomo, but who can resist a few more pics of this fascinating structure?

Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, duomo
Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, duomo, santa maria dei fiori
Santa Maria dei Fiori Facade
Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, duomo
A few fellows keeping that facade safe.

And Last, But Not Least

Meet Porcellino! The original of this bronze porker was cast in the 1600s, but not in Florence. It was actually made in Rome, but those pesky Florentines nabbed it and claimed it for their city (this seems a bit like stealing another team’s mascot before the big game). This guy is a replacement and only dates from 2008, but you can still see the  original piggie at the Museo Bardini.

Porcellino, Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia,
Oink oink!

Tradition says that rubbing his snout gave you good fortune. Maybe if we had visited this guy immediately after our arrival to Florence, we would have had better luck with our stay.

Thanks for stopping by everyone. And be sure to leave a comment about noisy neighbors, Florence, or your favorite pig statue.


Okay, a little more politics, but this time I’ll leave it to the Irish to say what’s on my mind….

Irish Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin: America has just elected a fascist. Can the government not understand what is happening? We are at an ugly international crossroads…It has echoes from the 1930s, and America, the most powerful country in the world, has just elected a fascist…

I am frightened, I am absolutely frightened for what’s happening to this world and to what’s happening to our inability to stand up for it…

How are we supposed to deal with this monster who has just been elected President of America? Because I don’t think any of us in years to come should look back at this period and not say that we did everything in our power to call it out for what it is.


11 thoughts on “Forget Florence…I’m Outta Here!

  1. Well I guess we’ve now solved the mystery of why the owner of your Florence apartment rents it out rather than living there himself! Yikes! It’s a shame that lack of sleep disrupted your plans to see more of the city, but you still got some great photos – the Ponte Vecchio looks incredible. How is that thing still standing? It looks so overloaded!

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    1. It is amazing path at bridge is still standing, especially after watching the video about the flood in the 1960s – that thing took some heavy hits! Since I’m certain that whatever stones/cement they used to build it have to be the same material as our upstairs neighbor’s shoes were made of I should have asked him about it.

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  2. Hahaha, if your grasp of Italian extends to asking a noisy neighbour if his shoes are made of the same durable material as the long-suffering Ponte Vecchio, I am truly in awe of your linguistic skills! Hopefully next week’s holiday update will see you ditching your unwelcome travelling companion Sleep Deprivation and actually getting some proper holidaying done 😆

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    1. We may need to write to the publishers of Italian guidebooks and ask them to include a phrase like this in their little dictionary: It seems your shoes are made of Ponte Vecchian stones -please remove them before I go insane with insomnia. Much more useful than “where is the train station?”.

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      1. Hahaha! 😂😂😂 What publisher could turn down an offer like that? Although I now understand why my parents travel with about 8 different types of earplugs in their luggage… Oh, and this reminded me of a vintage French-English phrasebook we used to have at home, which contained such vital conversational snippets as “I should like to see a mannequin parade of summer fashions” and “I wish to rub myself with olive oil”! Useful 😆

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      2. Mr. Husband found an old French-English guide with phrases to talk to your boss’s wife (“this dinner you cooked is delicious” ” you keep your home nicely”), how to be included on a woman’s dance card, and, of course, tips on how to be a gentleman by lighting a lady’s cigarette.

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      3. Wow! How did they not teach me this stuff at school? Truly there are vast gaps in my knowledge of the French language… Someone could be complimenting my homemaking skills right now and I’d be none the wiser!

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