December 16, 1961 – Italy

Hotel Savoy, Florence, Italy – Clear, cold

     Edith and I got up today eager for our morning tour.  I was disappointed when I found the menu didn’t include Eggs Benedict here but I found they had a diverse selection of omelet’s that looked really good so I ordered one with mushrooms and avocado to eat.  Edith also chose get one.  Both turned out to be very good and had a lot of wonderful flavors.

     After breakfast we met our driver in the lobby so he could drive us around to see something of Florence.  Our driver, Tony, was nice but not as informative or helpful as our drivers in Rome.  Before going to specific sites Tony took us on a scenic drive on Michelangelo Avenue through an exclusive residential section which overlooked the city and it was a very pleasant drive.  Then he took us to visit the Church of San Lorenzo that contained the Medici Chapel or Chapel of the Princes which housed the mausoleum of the Medici family.  The Medici’s had been one of the most powerful families in Italy’s history.  I found the chapel very interesting to look at but I’d always found the Medici’s interesting because of their notorious reputation.

     Tony also took us to see the Baptistery of St. John, the Cathedral Santa Marie del Fiore also known as the Duomo and finally we saw the Pitti Palace.  The palace had been bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence for the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.  Strangely enough during the 18th century the palace had been used as a power base by Napoleon.   Currently the palace housed the art collection of the Medici family which included the works of Raphael, Rubens and Titian.  Our tour of the Pitti Palace was well worth the amount of time we spent walking around there.

Bacchus Statue at Pitti Palace

     Tony dropped Edith and I off at our hotel by lunch time and we thanked him for his time.  Edith and I decided to use our afternoon to go shopping so we were grateful when a clerk at the front desk suggested an area close enough where we could walk to.  Instead of having lunch in the hotel Edith and I found a little café nearby that looked enticing and had a wonderful smell coming out of it so we went in and ate there.  I tried their ravioli for lunch and Edith had a lasagna dish.  We sampled each other’s food too and found both dishes to be superb and far better than what I would have gotten in an Italian restaurant back home.

     Edith and I were pleased with what we found in the shops and were especially pleased that the prices weren’t as high as they had been in Rome.  Edith bought some wonderful perfumes in beautiful bottles and we both bought fur hats for $7.  After walking around for a couple more hours the temperature started to drop and get much colder so we returned to the hotel.

     By the time we made it back to our hotel I was so cold that it took quite awhile to warm up.  Edith and I decided to have an earlier evening meal than we had the last few days so we could turn in early.  I had always loved Italian dishes but after my visit here I knew it would be my favorite food.  Tonight I went with the lasagna and Edith had veal scaloppini.  I knew the next dish I would have to try was her scaloppini if I ever saw it on a menu again.

     By the time we had gone to bed I noticed it was starting to get a little chilly in our room so I turned up the heat a little.  As I dropped off to sleep I couldn’t help but wish we had had some one here who would put a hot water bottle in our bed like we had enjoyed in Srinagar.

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