On Day 3 we enjoyed everything about Florence! We started the day with a walking tour led by none other than me. I love this experience - rising before the crack of dawn and heading out onto the streets before a soul awakes. The streets are empty, there is very little sound, and the indigo light of the morning sky gradually transforms and brings this time capsule of the Renaissance into another day. I believe 9 of my travelers answered the bell and joined me in the lobby at 6 am. We were off and walked for 2 hours exploring the Piazza del Duomo, San Lorenzo Market, the Piazza Republica, the Palazzo Pitti, and the Piazza Republica along with many streets and sights along the way.
After the climb we took a quick pass through the interior of the main cathedral and returned back to the hotel for a quick cat nap. Then Isabel and I grabbed a quick bite and then joined 10 of us for a guided walking tour of Florence including the Accademia where of course the David is housed. We toured the Cathedral one more time - only in amazing detail, the Accademia and then the Palazzo Vecchio and the Piazza del Signoria. So fascinating to get an understanding of all the challenges and time these people went through to virtually survive and at the same time express themselves both from an artistic and political manner. Its funny how things seem so different now in modern life yet are so the same. We share the same struggles to put food on the table three times a day, protect ourselves from danger and our enemies, yet strive to create beauty along the way.
With the tour complete we all gathered for in the lobby for our trip up the hills above Florence to the Villa San Michele for cocktails on the terrace and dinner on the loggia overlooking the city. What a magical time to drive up the hill - out of the hustle and bustle of the city and to the cypress dotted hills of Tuscany. The dinner at Villa San Michele is truly a highlight of the trip. I have had the same waiter, Antenello, for over 10 years. The building was originally constructed as a monastery by none other than Michealangelo, and it is truly spectacular, sophisticated, and elegant. Belinis were served on the terrace, followed by a fantastic dinner of mushroom raviolis, salad, and sliced roast beef with a Brunello sauce. Only to be outdone by an amazing dessert. What a treat and what a contrast to dining on the streets the night before.