The weather is gorgeous here and it’s easy to walk to most sights from Hotel Cellai so I decided to visit some places I missed a couple of years ago.
The day started with the hotel’s wonderful buffet breakfast. It’s really superb offering pretty much anything you’d want from fruit, cereal and yoghurt, to meats, cheeses, slices of frittata, scambled eggs and gorgeous homemade cakes. And a waiter will bring you a freshly made cappuccino or other coffee.
Suitably fortified I set off towards the River Arno and Ponte Vecchio again via Piazza Repubblica. I wanted to go to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy the famous view. Rather incredibly I totally forgot about it two years ago and was determined to see it this time.
The light was clear and perfect as I crossed the Ponte Vecchio with a view of Ponte S. Trinita in the distance reflected beautifully in the still water.
Turning eastwards along Lungarno Torrigiani I passed a pretty garden – Martin Luther – where a few people sat enjoying the peace of the morning.
Signs for Piazzale Michelangelo appeared leading me away from the river and upwards. Well if you want a view you have to climb. It was some way up the very steep climb that I remembered I’d only gone up to the piazzale by car before! Many years ago …
However, about halfway up there was an entrance into Giardino delle Rose – a rose garden – where you can enjoy some great views and a rest on a bench before you carry on to the top.
It was inevitably quite busy in Piazzale Michelangelo; some people arriving by taxi. But I was glad I’d climbed and my efforts were rewarded as I looked over the glorious panoramic view of Florence.
I’d seen a sign for the Bardini gardens at the bottom of the steps so climbed back down and then faced another climb up a steep road.
Most people flock to the nearby and more famous Boboli gardens (and indeed you can buy a joint ticket to see both) but I walked round those last time and was intrigued to see these different ones. Here are about 10 acres of woods, gardens and orchards within medieval walls with glorious views across the city.
It cost €10 to get in but I was given a nice leaflet with a guide and photos and a map showing me the route round the gardens. I was immediately enchanted by the sight of Villa Bardini and its fantastic views.
Having been on the go for sometime I followed signs to the cafe for a drink.
I bought a cold drink and sat down and enjoyed the most wonderful view anyone might expect from a cafe seat!
Then, using my map, I followed the route round the gardens, stopping frequently to take in the views.
I walked through a long pergola which had wisteria growing across it while hydrangeas were planted along the edge. Turning a sharp left at the bottom, I came to the Baroque Stairway which dates from the late 18th century and has statues lining the way up (though you’re not allowed to do this).
I followed the path through the flower garden, which to be honest didn’t have many flowers but did offer a great view as I carefully made my way down the steep path.
Beautiful Tuscan buildings stood before me.
Eventually I left through the exit into via de Renai, close to the Arno again (there are two entrances/exits and this one is much the easier to access).
The Ponte Vecchio lay to my left and across the river stood the Uffizi Gallery.
It was a wonderful morning’s walk and amazingly quiet and peaceful. I think even in cities that are as popular as Florence you can always find a corner of peace to get away from the crowds. And I certainly did this morning.
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