Wednesday, June 20, 2007

April 2007 - Florence, Italy - Corinne & Corinne

Less than a week after returning from our amazing weekend in South Tuscany, our Swiss friend Corinne from Italian class in Rome last fall came to Florence to visit us one weekend. And she brought her friend, who's also named Corinne, with her.

Within an hour of their arrival, we were on the streets, in all-out tour guide mode. You know we love it!!

We started the afternoon by giving the girls a walking tour of Florence, heading out from Piazza Signoria around the corner from our apartment. That's the Palazzo Vecchio in the background.

No visit to Florence would be complete without stopping to see David. Given the long lines at Galleria dell'Accademia, a picture with a really good copy will have to do.
Crossing the Ponte Vecchio is a wonderful way to see not only the city's buildings but also its inhabitants particularly the lustful teenagers that smooch on the walls of the bridge.

After several fun self-photo attempts . . .
we asked a group of teenagers to take this photo. They were all eager to try out Kenny's high tech digital camera.

In this shot you can see that the bridge is packed with pedestrian traffic. After all this is the hotspot for jewelry shopping in the city best known for art and goldsmiths. In the distance you can see the top of the red-tiled Duomo always dominating the skyline.

Here we are across the Arno River looking back at the center of Florence. This is one of the best ways to see the city and escape the crowded center.

Crossing back over to the center of town, we snapped a shot with the Ponte Vecchio in the distance. It's not quite sunset here, but the sunset over the Arno is a must-see and perhaps one of Florence's most beautiful attractions.

We took the girls to dinner at a local spot called 4 Leoni in the Oltrarno - an area south of the Arno River less frequented by tourists and . . .

known for trendy bars and clubs like "Dolce Vita" where we are in this shot. It had a South Beach vibe to it

Corinne and Corinne seemed to really enjoy themselves. These two never stop smiling and are a delight to be around.

Here the girls are with the DJ (with black cap) behind them. He was soon joined by a guy who banged a few drums in sync with the music, and the party got a lot louder all of a sudden.

As we stumbled home, we stopped on Ponte di Santo Spirito for a shot of the Ponte Vecchio from the opposite direction. We don't necessarily look it but we are all deaf in this picture.

The next morning, the girls were up bright and early and eager to do some shopping.

But first, we made a pit stop at Ruggini's for some croissants and capuccinos. The girls needed their strength. They shopped for about 8 hours straight afterwards.

Because we're in Florence and this is the city of American college students, we took the girls out for a late lunch to a restaurant that serves American breakfast all day. They were shocked by the size of their omelettes.

There are the girls below having trouble climbing the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo after all that American breakfast.

And they finally made it!

3 beautiful girls and a spectacular panorama, Kenny is always up for the challenge of an amazing self-photo. Just look at the monuments and mountains all perfectly placed in the distance. OK, it's good but I think we can do better. Let's try one more, but this time with the Ponte Vecchio the Arno ALSO in it.
Piece of cake!!
The girls enjoyed the panorama while I took some candid shots.
And then I moved in closer, still going unnoticed . . .

And finally, I snuck around the corner and jumped in front of them for this surprise shot, capturing their expressions of complete (pitiful) exhaustion. (I have to entertain myself somehow when no one will play with me.) After catching their breath, the girls prepare for the walk back to the center of Florence. I know their just gonna want to do more shopping. How will I pass the time?

Group self-photos perhaps?

We rewarded ourselves for the long walk with some gelato at the world-famous Vivoli. We still like our local spot on Via dei Neri much better. How do you like jab "postcard delivered addressed only to Vivoli, Europa", huh ?!?!

For dinner we headed to a local pizza hotspot. No menu and only 2 types of pizza. It came out piping hot and perfectly crisp.

Cafe Italiano makes some of the best pizza we've had in Italy.
After our pizzas we had amazing homemade orange cake and tiramisu. We left absolutely stuffed!
On the girls' last day in town we head to Ruggini's for what they claim are the most delicious capuccinos. After Corinne drinks 2 of them, we go see San Lorenzo's market and church.

After some shoe shopping at the huge open-air market, we stopped in to see San Lorenzo church and the Medici Chapels. Not a bad final group self-taken shot, if I do say so myself.

And then the girls had to catch their train back to Lucern. We had a wonderful time with them and we look forward to visiting Lucern in August and letting them be our tour guides. Stay tuned for Lucern post with Corinne & Corinne.

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