The Campanile in the Piazza al Duomo
1. I've been wanting to write about the entrepreneurial spirit in Italy. They want to sell you flowers, knock-off purses, little toys, a kind of extension stick you can put your cell phone in to facilitate the taking of selfies, and so on. When we were first in Venice and it started to rain, suddenly boys appeared, selling umbrellas. Men come around with roses every time you are eating at an outdoor cafe. I was surprised that at the bridge with all the padlocks in Venice that someone wasn't selling the locks -- in that case, I surely would have bought one! There are also African immigrants selling books -- I haven't really looked at them, but they're small, colorful books. The best thing was after we came out of the concert in Venice -- it was dark outside, and in the Piazza San Marco, vendors were throwing these lit blue objects into the air. It was a beautiful sight to see, as they floated down to the ground. We didn't buy one though, because the experience never would be the same, outside our house in Santa Cruz. But we will remember how beautiful it was.
The view of Il Duomo from our hotel
2. Florence is kind of overwhelming. There are a lot of tourists here, and just walking around is a bit of a challenge, especially if you're being vigilant about hanging onto your purse or backpack. Ed noted that Ferrara is a small town; Venice is something unto itself; but Firenze is a big city, and it's ground zero for tourists. (Maybe Rome is worse, but this is bad enough for us.) If you enjoy shopping, you can get every kind of shopping done in Florence. If you want to see museums and pictures, good luck getting around to all of them. Because it rains on and off, the getting around can be treacherous, what with the wet cobblestones. But we're hanging onto each other and managing all right.
A lunchtime serenade
3. This man serenaded us during our lunch at Il Sasso di Dante. He was a charming man, but unfortunately his accordion playing wasn't on a par with his charm. He hit many wrong chords while playing, and mostly played Spanish, not Italian songs. Still, we gave him a few Euros for effort.
A beautiful window in Il Duomo
4. Tomorrow I want to do the Medicis -- their chapels, the Pallazo Medici Riccardi. I've read a fair amount about them, and would especially like to learn more about "Il Magnifico," Lorenzo di Medici. And we have to get to the Accademia to see the David. We won't go home without having seen it!
So, Ciao from Firenze on our second day. More news tomorrow.