Italy: Fiesole and the Duomo

Eager to continue our journey of a more rural Italy, we used the next day to travel to Fiesole, a small city right outside of Florence (NE).  We found out about this particular city through a friend at a winery here in Columbus, who grew up there.  And only a short bus ride away, it was hard to say no- especially since there was a great view and another gelato shop to try out.

So funny side story- the buses in Italy are based on a sort of honesty system.  While also enforced by a few ATAF "guards" I guess you could call them.  Tickets were only 1.2 euros a piece for as many rides in a 4 hour period (so pretty darn cheap considering!) If you wanted to buy a ticket on the bus, they sold them for 2 euros. Well, before we left the states, we were warned to make sure we always validate our tickets - bus and train- meaning to get them stamped or punched before or when we get on.  The first time we rode in Florence, everyone seemed to be getting on and off without validating their tickets.  Why even bother getting them then?  Thankfully, we decided to research some to see what would happen if you were somehow caught without a validated ticket.  If this happens, you would be fined at a minimum 50 euros! That's if you run into a nice guard.  Allllrighty then- we'll just pay the 10 euros or so TOTAL for all the bus rides we would need.  Good thing we did too because the very next day (aka our ride to Fiesole) another foreigner- Australian- was found without a validated ticket and fined 50 euros.  But he didn't have enough cash on him, *shucks.  Nope, the guard made him get off at the next stop and go to an ATM to get more cash.
As Tim and I are seated right across from him, we watched/listened to the whole thing happen, and sighed a huge sigh of relief once they got off.  The best part is too, on our way back, the same guy caught a group of 5 kids.  Lucky day for us indeed.

Anyway, we get to Fiesole with no mishaps and had a lot of fun.  Had a great couple views of Florence, a short walk around the neighborhood, a tour of the Teatro Romano, and some time to sit down and relax while I drew and Tim read.

After that we decided to go back to the SE end of Florence to the Piazza di San Michaelangelo-which also looked over Florence. We ended up eating a very nice and somewhat "American-ized" dinner with a bottle of wine while we waited for the sun to set.  We heard the city roar with cheers as Italy beat Spain, and I even saw a couple get engaged!  So Tim and I cheered and clapped for them, to which they seemed a bit embarrassed and walked away after that... oops.  Still really awesome though.

view of Florence from Fiesole

sunset over Florence

The next day, we decide to go into the city center and take on the climb to the top of the Duomo.  As usual, it's a big tourist spot, so it's no surprise when we get there at 9 there is already a long line waiting to get in.  We wait about 2 hours before starting the 370' claustrophobic climb to the top. But the sights were worth it.

Surprisingly, it only took about 30 minutes to go up and almost another 30 to come back down.  So we still had a whole day ahead of us by the time we were done.  It was our last day in Florence, and we wanted to enjoy every minute we had left.  So we went to a place called ZaZa for lunch to cool off and fill up on delicious food.  After lunch we walked around the central market, bought some souvenirs and headed back home for a bit. Then headed out again for dinner, except we went before Gusta Pizza opened, so we strolled around there, found a book shop (and a few of our favorite books in Italian!), which took up the rest of our time until dinner.  We ate pizza out on a square and did some people watching and wandering before going back to finish off the limoncello our host had left for us.  (As well as watching the season finale of GoT). :D

Couldn't ask for a better time in Florence.

Next up: Venice.


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