Florence was a nice break from all the large capital cities we've been to lately; as a small city, it just felt friendlier to explore. I think the public art was the real standout; it's filled with breathtaking buildings, beautiful plazas, and statues and art are everywhere. In the center of the city is one of the largest churches in the world, and it also features really impressive details both inside and out, giving it a very unique appearance. Near the river it feels most a part of Tuscany; although we weren't blown away by the food, they definitely take pride in their gelato.
The weather did turn suddenly every day we were there and we noticed quite a business centered around tourists caught off guard -- it seemed every time it started to rain, within a minute or two half the people on the street were selling umbrellas!
We had a lot of fun shopping for fresh ingredients at the central market and cooking dinner like we would at home. The vegetables were great!
One more thing to celebrate, unrelated to Florence, was the release of a project we've been working on for a while. On our trip we often need to explain "vegan" if people helping us don't know the word. We thought it would be nice to have a visual, picture-based way to communicate about food needs so that travelers can be sure to be clear about what foods they can't or don't eat. So, we created the website Meal Request to easily make a personalized card and print. Upon pushing it live, we celebrated with some local prosecco!
We've really enjoyed taking trains around Europe; many have wonderfully designed comfortable seats, luggage storage, personal lights, electric outlets, and some even have sealed compartments for a quiet and enjoyable ride. Unfortunately the trains were better in the northern and central regions; moving from Florence we had to take 3 different regional trains to get across Italy and the south of France which were not so nice. Luckily we shared a car with this sweet doggy which always lifts our spirits! (spoiler alert: yes, we want a dog!)
So, if you have a minute please check out our project Meal Request and give us any feedback. We have about a month left of traveling and then will be back in San Francisco!