The flight was uneventful, but I got in about 30 minutes late, which was just enough to mess up my arrival plans. After getting off the plane I caught the Leonardo Express, which took me from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport to the main Termini in downtown Rome, about a 30 minute trip. This caused me to miss my 9am train. I gave up on the self service kiosks in favor of a human to get things straightened out. She put me on a 10:30 train – which would have put me in Florence at 12:00 – just in time.
Unfortunatly, something was up with the trains and everything was late. As of 11:00 the 9:30 train was just leaving. The terminal was full of nervous touristas. Luckily my train pulled up at about the same time, and we were on our way to Florence. I got to my apartment around 1pm, which was an hour later than I was supposed to meet the rental agents. With no cell phone and not being able to find a pay phone-and pulling along my rolling bag-I gave in and ducked into the hair salon next door. The guy was able to call Alba, and she let me in my apartment.
I got in and settled and spent the first day or two exploring and recovering from jet lag. The apartment is great – small and cold at first. I shut a couple doors and it warmed up. It’s supposed to warm up this week, so I can spend a bit more time up there. Here is a view of the first sunset from my terrace.
There is spotty internet access here in my apartment, and that’s been a godsend. Mike and I installed Skype before I left, and that’s been great for a few late night calls. I also talked with my brother in Michigan, who just installed Skype as well.
It’s been very cold and I didn’t bring a hat and scarf, so I wandered to the Mercato Centrale and picked up both. Very fashionable. The hat is rainproof with a fleece lining. There are ear flaps but my vanity prevents me from posting those pics.
The new hat.
Saturday night I finally met up with Doug and we took the bus across the Arno River to the villa they are in. Stuart’s friend Erica was in from Madrid, so we all hung out and had a great dinner and a little wine. Erica is a musician and teaches music, so it was quite the artsy crowd. Doug and Bob are here for 5 months and Stuart for a month. They’ve been great about going out and getting work done, and the results are on display in the dining room. I have lots of catching up to do.
I’m realizing this sounds like a horrible Christmas letter, so to wrap things up I got my Amici degli Uffizi card yesterday – Friends of the Uffizi – which allows me open access to about 20 museums around the city. No reservations – just need to go through security. I spent a few hours at the Uffizi yesterday, and I’ll head down there with Doug and Stuart today. They’re supposed to be here any minute , so I’ll wrap this up for now. More later.
Update: We had a great day in Florence. Started off at the Pitti Palace and the saw the work of Francesco Furini. I found a quiet bench upstairs and sketched for a while while Doug and Stuart drew downstairs. It got crowded after a while, so we went off for lunch.
The afternoon was spent at the Palazzo Vecchio before meeting Bob and Erica for the invisible parade honoring the last of the Medici’s. Today was a holiday in honor of her, but neither she nor the promised parade ever appeared. That was fine by us, so we found a quiet place for dinner next to the Medici Chapel. That was followed up by gelato, and here we are. Another early day tomorrow at the Gallery of Modern Art – also at the Pitti Palace.