Sunday, 3 June 2007

Day out in the City

Since moving out to the other side of the Arno, in San Frediano, we have gone into the centre less and less. As the temperatures increased in May it was only too easy to just loll in the garden all day! Esselunga delivers food and drink, so why not? The occasional excursion for gelato is all we needed!

The end of May saw the weather change dramatically. For over a week now we have had rain, clouds, wind and thunder. But from how stifling it was becoming it was inevitable it had to break. It's still a comfortable 23C and I am wearing jeans and long sleeves again, but I'm used to it being British ;)! This is when you remember Italy is still in the temparate zone!

Anyway, everytime the rain has stopped we have ventured out and normally ended up in the centre. This also tends to be expensive as we just have to do a little shopping while we are there! Magazines and books are my big weakness and most days we have returned with some kind of reading material.

Yesterday was a big day in Florence for 2 reasons; it was the 60th anniversary of the republic and Games Workshop officially opened its first store in Florence! The former is fairly self expanatory and meant many places were closed all weekend, except in the centre, as it is a public holiday.

The latter only makes sense, if like me, you have an adolescent male, of any age ;), in your family. Games Workshop is the official retailer and owner of all things Warhammer. For the uninitiated, this is a combination of model making and wargaming, but with orcs and spacemen and Lord of the Rings characters, but not all in the same battle! The shop sells everything you need and even has special days when you can go and paint your models in the shop under the guidance of the shop assistants who are all fanatics as well. My son spent a good hour picking out a kit and chatting. Who would have thought plastic models could be a source of social entertainment? The shop was very busy, but then I have never seen so many shops dedicated to this type of wargaming in one city. There are at least 4 other independent shops I can think of and I am sure there are more. The best part about this shop is that it is virtually on our doorstep near Santa Maria del Carmine, so my son can pop in when he wants to!

Then we went into the centre for Pizza and ice-cream. We also visited the Bargello, which was free because of the Holiday! As it is normally €7 entrance each this was fantastic. I loved the della Robbias on the top floor. I know Majolica is not to everyone's taste but ever since seeing the swaddled babies above the arcade of the hospital of the innocents I have really liked it.

While we were out I started to think about tips for visiting Florence, or even for those just arriving to live here. This is my first:

Sitting at a table for a quick drink in Florence is expensive. You can pay €8 for a coke in somewhere like Rivoire, which if you only want to take a break, not people watch, is extortionate. The answer, in the centre, is the gelateria's, not cafe's that sell gelato, but the places like "Festival of Gelato", "Perche' No" that only sell gelato and, importantly, have inside seating. Here you pay for an ice-cream and a drink and can sit down without paying extra! Also the drinks are take-away prices, even if you sit down! Remembering this can save you a fortune! But it will make you fat:))

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