Part 1: Our June Birthday Trip to Italy. What an idea! Go to Italy for our birthday. We considered Israel but settled on Italy. This was a view from a restaurant in Florence. We spent 11 days in Italy and 9 were in Florence. Johna and I wanted to celebrate our birthday in magnificent style and we did. My daughter, Nicodemus as Gramps called her, wanted to tag along as she had a big birthday coming up in October…lol. Nikki is a lot of fun and has traveled extensively in her life.

We stayed at the Hotel Rita Major. It was an inexpensive option and a mile or so from the Duomo, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

We ate on the third floor of this shop. The food was outdone by the views. Though Nikki did like her octopus.

Johna at the Hotel Rita Major breakfast had wonderful Cappuccino and croissants
Hotel Rita Major’s Croissants with jelly and cappuccinos were the best part of the morning.
What trip to Italy would be complete with seeing an Opera?
Carmen was well done with the venue being at St. Mark’s Anglican Church
Dinner before the Opera
Dessert was a flan and tiramisu
Taking a breather on Ponte Vecchio while we window shopped. The prices on this bridge were pretty steep and loaded with jewelry stores.
View of Ponte Vecchio from a hilltop church.
Nikki or Pris as I call her, getting ready for the horseback ride in San Gimignano
The horseback ride was slow but had beautiful views! I’ve always wanted my own horse. A Friesian would be nice.

San Gimignano from a stop along the way as part of the tour. It was settled prior to the Etruscan period 3-8th BC but this is the when the most relevant settlements were found.
Visit to the old town of San Gimignano with the best Gelato on the planet according to the sign. And I’d have to say it was the best I’ve had.
My favorite picture with my first born kiddo.
Gate of San Gimignano from 1100 AD
Corbucci Wine Tasting with lunch. Nik and I ordered some wine to be sent home.

An amazing restaurant where we drank wine with Becca, our new friend from the horseback ride. Apparently, the give you Limoncello at every meal and it is loaded with alcohol. A not so minor tidbit of information that would have benefited us the next morning.
 24% to 32% (48-64 proof) This restaurant made their own Limoncello. Oh, it was tasty.
Truffle Gnocchi
Florence Impatiens
At the top of the Florence Duomo- Info about it below:
It is less than a meter wide, there is plexiglas for protection and you can admire the immense size of the frescoes up close as well as LOOK DOWN about 40 meters into the central part of the cathedral. You are not exposed here and cannot fall — but if you fear heights, this part might be hard to manage. The climb up the dome is within the space between the two domes so it is extremely narrow, and the steps are steep. People have different tolerances for heights so consider these points to decide whether to climb or not.
Filippo Brunelleschi who won the competition for its commission in 1418, the dome is egg-shaped and was made without scaffolding. The raising of this dome, the largest in the world in its time, was no easy architectural feat. At the base of the dome, just above the drum, Baccio d’Agnolo began adding a balcony in 1507. One of the eight sides was finished by 1515, when someone asked Michelangelo – whose artistic opinion was by this time taken as cardinal law – what he thought of it. The master reportedly scoffed, “It looks like a cricket cage.” It is 453 steps to the top and was a bit hot in June.
Of course Nik looks as fresh as a flower in May.

Sorry Johna, this pic is too funny. We’re like “Bring on the Stairs” and Johna who had been sick was more like “What the Heck??” Loads of narrow stairs.
Top O’ The World with tired faces.
What trip to Italy would be complete without buying a purse? Mine has the view of Ponte Vecchio.
Florence was founded around 60BC and first wall was built in the 2nd Century AD. This I imagine, is one of the later walls.

Views from Basilica San Miniato al Monte Florence

Ghiberti’s masterpiece the Golden Door is in Florence which is Firenze in Italian.

What trip to Florence would be complete without a shot of Michelangelo’s David. It was pretty crowded in the Accademia.

Caravaggio’s Boy with Fruit was one I like, but I like Medusa better. The Uffizi was my favorite museum in Italy.
Penitent Magdalene by Donatello in the Uffizi
My husband’s nickname for Nikki in 1987 was Medusa. Though I never pictured her looking like this version by Caravaggio. Wow!

We head to Rome for the next installment.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Awesome pictures, I really enjoy your pictures of the places you go❤️♥️❤️♥️

    1. Thank you for looking and your comments. I hope you are well! Donna

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