The Arno - Florence, Italy
July 28, 2014
My last day in Florence before I begin my trip home. A month and a half spent in Europe, and I think the key to my enjoyment was not the quantity of my experiences, but the quality. I stayed in only six destinations, and I visited even less tourist attractions. After all, what filled my time was reading and writing in cafés, lazing in parks, and meandering in the more local parts of town. With no packed schedule, I practically could’ve peered out over the Arno as long as I wanted to and watched the rowers go by. And if that kind of thing isn’t at least enjoyable, it sure cuts down on expenses.

Café Giacosa at Palazzo Strozzi - Florence, Italy
July 27, 2014
The café is part of the Palazzo Strozzi, built between 1489 and 1538, and when you sit down with a piece of cake and a cappuccino you feel as though the café was original to the residence and it was your café and all the other people were your guests, but the kind that you didn’t have to bother with because you’d rather read a good book.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi - Florence, Italy
July 27, 2014
The Medici family residence was built between 1444 and 1484 and though it has been renovated in the centuries since, there is still a very real renaissance attitude about it. Through Sotheby’s it might go for more than 10 million, maybe 20 - I don’t know. But it’s as much as Florence as the Duomo is and those kinds of things should not be priced, only understood and appreciated.

Some Garden - San Gimignano, Italy
July 26, 2014

Tuscany Landscape - San Gimignano, Italy
July 26, 2014

Torre Grossa - San Gimignano, Italy
July 26, 2014
From the La Rocca di Montestaffoli, the ruins of a 14th century fortress, there are views of Tuscany unimpended except for Torre Grossa from 1298 and the small remainder of 72 towers built by the town’s patriarch families in a competition and display of their wealth.

On The Street - San Gimignano, Italy
July 26, 2014

Piazza della Cisterna - San Gimignano, Italy
July 26, 2014
I had no guide to the small medieval town of San Gimignanao, but was easily drawn in to the Piazza della Cisterna which acts a hub within the old town walls. And then, of course, there was Gelateria Dondoli which has won the Gelato World Championship for 2006/07 and 2008/09. I was hesitant about being told that a gelato is the best, but I stuck to the flavors I know well - menta, pistacchio, and nocciola, and I certainly found them enjoyable.

On The Street - San Gimignano, Italy
July 26, 2014

The Arno - Florence, Italy
July 25, 2014

Ponte Vecchio - Florence, Italy
July 25, 2014

San Lorenzo - Florence, Italy
July 25, 2014