Hello, Florence: Views to die for, telescope porn and the Florence Marathon almost strands us

After Dexter conquered his carousel fear, we took him home for a nap and then bought him some pizza when he woke up. He was pretty happy about it.

Our itinerary was loose, but we knew we wanted to wander around and look at Christmas lights, eventually heading to Guilio Giannini, a shop where six generations of family have been master bookbinders since 1856.

Matt was pushing the stroller through this piazza and at one point, he asked me, “Where did Dexter’s pizza go?” From behind, Matte couldn’t see it in his hands or on the stroller tray so he thought maybe Dex had dropped it. Nope.

We crossed Ponte Vecchio. I thoroughly enjoyed staring at both the glittering jewelry shops that line the oldest bridge in Florence, and the glittering river views.

On the other side, we found our bookbinder and bought an ornament for ourselves and a Christmas gift, which the proprietor wrapped in handmade paper.

I asked how long it takes to make a book and did not get an answer to my question, but did get a long, interesting explanation of all the different components and how they are created.

Next we walked over to Basilica Santo di Spirito, where there was a prayer chant in session so we were not allowed to take photos. Dexter WASN’T HAVING IT, so Matt took him outside while I tried to soak up some spirituality. Dex continued NOT HAVING IT outside, audible from inside, so after a minute I headed out and we wandered the Piazza Santo Spirito.

See? Matt gets photos like this. I get pants hitch.

We ducked into Osteria Santo Spirito, where Matt had a mountain of steak and I had a dish I ate several times in Florence, fresh pasta with porcini mushrooms. This was one of the best. I also ordered a beautiful salad I was too full to eat, which we then forgot at the restaurant. A beautiful walk home, then we retired before our last full day in Florence.

The next morning we made our way to the Galileo Museum.

I call this the “Florence font.” I need it on my computer so I can make beautiful things with it.
It’s hard to see but I just loved this – a fabric hanging with a drawing of a sleeping baby and “Silenzio!”

Now that I’ve achieved my goal of buying a vintage school globe, I might next set my sights on a celestial globe. Or map. We’ll see.

Galileo’s tooth and finger bones. Gross!

Ah, just what a pregnant woman wants to see.

The most challenging part of the Galileo Museum is that many of the nifty “toys,” as in, precious instruments, are within easy toddler reach. Hell, *I* wanted to play with them, so it’s no stretch to see why Dexter was tempted. Spent much time leading him away from enticing levers and pulleys.

They have an interactive area, though. Look out! Dexter is in charge if the solar system!

Post-museum lunch was one of my favorites: Osteria Dei Pazzi. Matt had classic spaghetti and meat sauce, I had ravioli. It was family-run and felt it, with a big group having a celebration on one side, and the owner coming out and bustling around, grabbing ingredients and bursting into song. At one point, Dexter was starting to fuss, and he came out with a pink plastic phone. He took away the dinosaur toy Dex was holding and said something about how Dexter is not a bambino antico, he’s a bambino moderno, and I’ll be damned if Dexter wasn’t entertained by that toy phone for a solid 20 minutes.

No photos because no high chairs. We literally had our hands too full.

I’d been expressing a desire to see Florence from up high somewhere, so Matt hailed us a taxi to Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset. Tourists flock there for a reason.

We decided we wanted to go back to Piazza Repubblica, and see it lit up at night. I bought some art and Matt took a spin with Dex on the carousel.

The next morning, our final in Florence, we headed back to Il Duomo because full disclosure, and this is embarrassing, I didn’t realize that’s where we were when we went the first time. After seeing it from above, I wanted to take it in again with context.

Then we stopped by the local grocery for plane snacks, and good thing we did, because we were way late catching our flight and missed a planned airport lunch.

No, that wasn’t a plane snack, but I just found a Minion-branded Panettone bread amusing.

We were pretty excited to learn the annual Florence Marathon was crossing right at the end of our block, until we realized it meant the city’s taxi’s had stopped running.

After a few panicked phone calls, we found ourselves dragging Dex in his stroller, plus two suitcases, plus a pack-n-play, plus his carseat over cobblestone streets, toward the train station. Now, we had pretty good service while we were in Italy, but the country has a reputation for not being the friendliest to tourists, and unfortunately, our worst experience coincided with marathon panic. The taxi guy could have said, “Just walk a couple blocks away from the race and call for a cab from there,” but he did not, and instead gave us the impression that no taxis were running at all. Fortunately, a couple blocks away from the race, I saw a taxi with a passenger with my own eyes and realized we should call from there. And we did. And we made it to the airport and caught our flight.

Just barely.

One more little Florence note —

That was located at the end of our block. We probably walked by it dozens of times and didn’t notice. Valuable lesson for Dexter, and a reminder for ourselves, that art is everywhere. Just have to look for it.

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