|Santa Croce church - just steps away from our apartment in Florence|
|Assorted fried fish and vegetables (squid, baby octopus, sardines, zucchini and carrots - in cone)|
|Rigatoni with local pork sausage and black truffles|
|Spire of Palazzo del Vecchio|
|Statue in the Piazza della Signoria|
We weren't sorry to be leaving Rome, in spite of the fact that we left hundreds of things unseen. We attempted to choose well--instead of breezing through every tourist spot in the travel book, we selected a small number of Rome's attractions and focused on them. The heat and noise was beginning to take its toll, so we were pleased when the train left Rome's ugly suburbs behind and snaked its way through some green and pleasant countryside. Many of the fields are ready to harvest; the hay has already been baled in the rolling fields. We saw fields of sunflowers in bloom.
Florence (Firenze) has its own drab and dreary suburbs, and Santa Maria Novella station equals Rome's Termini for noise and confusion. We phoned the concierge from the station and he was waiting for us at Via Verdi 12, when we arrived by cab a few minutes later. Gian showed us where everything is and what to do if the electricity goes out (re-set the breakers). The apartment hadn't been occupied for at least a week and, as a result, it was stifling. The poor old air conditioners have been going full blast ever since--to no avail. It's after midnight and the apartment is still quite hot. We've opened windows and hope it cools off.
We shopped for a few groceries (mostly fruit, baked goods, milk, juice for breakfasts) and had a very late lunch at--wait for it: we found another Irish pub. There's something weird about our coming upon three Irish pubs for lunch in one week!
We became acquainted with our neighbourhood before dinner.We are in the Santa Croce area about fifty metres from the church in the photo. It appears to be away from the major tourist areas, which is just fine with us. We walked to the Piazza della Signoria where the Uffizi Gallery is located before having a wonderful meal at Boccadama Eneteca Ristorante.