We woke to a misty morning and about 15 degrees Yay to some cooler weather. The weather report says it will fine up and be around 24 today.

After breakfast we headed into Florence to meet our local guide, Patrizia showed us around this important city which dates back to the dark ages. Florence was a hub for artists, writers, scientists and free thinkers. Michelangelo, Leonardo di Vinci , Donatello and Galellao all came from Florence along with many other famous people.

We, of course, were taken to the “Accademia” where many of Michelangelo’s statues are housed including “David”. David is certainly an imposing figure when seen in real life.

We then walked to the “piazza della signoria” this was the town square with a HUGE palace that is, even today, the centre of government for Florence. Florence was,in medieval times, a separate republic not controlled by Rome. Michelangelo’s David was commissioned for this square. The symbol of David defeating the giant is a metaphor for Florence defeating Rome

There is a famous bridge in Florence called the Ponte Vecchio, this bridge is a covered bridge and is lined with shops. In early times the shops were the fishmongers and butchers, but the smell of the shops offended the Duke on his walk from the Town hall to his residence, so he had all the butchers moved and decreed that only the goldsmiths could trade there. It is still the gold centre of Florence.

After a couple of hours free time, Bern took us on the coach to a lookout overlooking the city. At this lookout is yet another David.., this time on bronze.

Then we headed back to the hotel for a rest before going to the Tuscan hills for an Italian feast ( again)

Well this feast was a gastronomically awesome end to our time in Italy. We started with antipasto of prosciutto and two types of salami , 3 kinds of bruschetta with tomato, black olive tapenade and green olive tapenade. Then ravioli with spinach and ricotta & gnocchi in beef ragu. Then came the main course of a full rib-eye cooked (to perfection ) on the bone served with roasted potato and rosemary. Dessert was tiramisu and strawberry cake. Of course the whole meal was washed down with a good dose of excellent wines.

Back to the hotel and we are all sad to be leaving Italy, but are looking forward to our next adventure in France. We have one more Italian stop in Pisa, then onto Nice.