This time we caught the bus into Florence from our villa at Bagno a Ripoli. It was quite easy to manage the buses. We knew we needed bus no. 23 and found a bus stop easily. We bought tickets on the bus for 2.50 euros and then validated them on the ticket machine. You then get 90 minutes to ride around.
We stayed on the bus until we caught sight of the Duomo and got off at Piazzale Michelangelo. It was quite a walk up the steps but worth it for the spectacular views over the city. You can see the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio and Santa Croce along with all the red roofs of Florence. We took quite a few pictures up there before heading back down.
We stayed that side of the river and just wandered in the general direction of the Ponte Vecchio. We pottered around taking pictures of the buildings and found a fantastic photography shop where we were very tempted by the prints. Sadly, I didn’t have the budget or space in my backpack but if I ever go back to Florence I will be heading back there. Check out: http://www.michaelasieberova.com
We eventually emerged at the Ponte Vecchio and stopped for some gelato. Suitably refreshed, we headed across the bridge and towards the Duomo, admiring Hercules’ buttocks on the way. We had a look at the queue for the Duomo but it was too long so we kept on going towards the Central Market.
The Central Market was very interesting and had lots of Italian delicacies, including delicious cheeses and hams. We wandered up the stairs to the eating area but it was packed and we were a bit confused how it all worked so left without eating anything. There was a cooking school in there which looked very interesting.
We were heading to the Santissima Annunziata church but it was closed when we got there (it is closed between 12.30pm and 4pm every day). However, we were able to catch the 23 bus from there (we bought tickets in a little shop and they were 1.50 euro each) and headed back to Bagno a Ripoli.
The next day we went to Fiesole which is a village close to Florence. The journey there, through the city centre, wasn’t great and I was a bit disappointed at first as the centre didn’t feel particularly special, and certainly not as nice as Radda or Greve, which we had visited two days before.
We had lunch outside a restaurant but it started to rain so we moved inside. I didn’t feel up to eating much as I had been ill the night before so I just had melon, ham and cheese which was delicious.
It was still raining as we came out of the restaurant but we made our way up to the viewing point where there were some fabulous (if a bit misty) views of Florence. You can certainly see why artists go there to paint.