Florence, Italy

Florence, as with Hof bei Salzburg, was a bit of a splurge city for us. Having both been to Italy before, we really wanted to enjoy our time. We opted to cast in a ridiculous amount of points for the St. Regis, and were upgraded to the suite literally used in promotional materials (too good to be true!). Suffice to say, the view down to the Ponte Vecchio from our private balcony, with the free bottle of welcome wine provided, made for a pleasant evening.
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Outside of the hotel, we hit many of the notable sites, including wandering down to the Ponte Vecchio, seeing Il Duomo, and of course, buying as much Floretine pottery as possible to ship home. We also grabbed a couple Florentine dishes while we were out and about: a meat-filled sandwich and small glass of wine from a street-side vendor, a couple pieces of Florentine pizza, and a plate of Tuscan tripe at the local market.
We also waited in line to see the David, which we were originally skeptical about (an hour wait in the hot Italian sun would have anyone questioning their motives – we even saw an ambulance arrive for a woman suffering heat stroke). The wait turned out to be well worth it – we were both very impressed with the David – it really is a masterpiece of sculpture (especially amazing to us after witnessing someone attempting to refab a sculpture in the Boboli gardens at a painstakingly slow pace the second morning, a testament to how difficult sculpture can be). Also interesting was the musical instrument museum they have on site – the violas and all assorted string instruments all look brand new, yet they are also featured in the paintings from the 1600s! Really amazing exhibit.
Then, we had dinner at a fantastic Florentine restaurant called Gargani, where we shared the steak, swiss chard, a pasta with tomatoes and burrata, and potatoes which were basically a vessel for olive oil in the most delectable way. If I were uber rich, I would fly to Florence on a monthly basis to eat here – this place was awesome. We ended up having to come back to Florence for an extra night due to a flight delay, and had to come back to the restaurant – our original waiter came back over to greet us and was amused at how happy I was to order, and devour, the exact plate of pasta I’d had several days before for dinner again.
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The following day, we wandered around the less touristy parts of town across the river, and over to the Boboli Gardens and fort, which had a great view of the city.
Of course, we had to hit up a local pizza place for one last slice before heading up into Tuscan wine country, to Montespertoli.
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Then, we headed out of town to Chianti country.

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