'THE OTHER SIDE' OF FLORENCE

Continuing our journey the next morning after getting stalled from a bus driver strike all over the Zocca area, we made it to the train station courtesy of Ricky, the son of the family from our Bed and Breakfast. Speeding down the mountains completely covered in fog was like driving through the clouds with no clue of what's in front of you, but Ricky did it effortlessly. He knew the roads that well. 

We took a train to Florence and found our next accommodation right across the Ponte Vecchio bridge, known as Oltrarno, the 'other side of the river'. I have to say, I preferred staying in Oltraro, where there are less tourists, quieter streets, and great views of the Arno river. We stayed a stones throw away from Piazza Santo Spirito.

We spent our days eating gelato and seeing the well-known architectural and artistic beauties of the city. David's butt is victorious. For a great view of the Florence Cathedral, you can go to Piazza della Repubblica, and sneak onto the roof of the La Rinascente department store. It's worth it.

My favorite evening stroll was in Oltrarno, walking from Piazza Santo Spirito along the Arno and up to Piazzale Michelangelo. This is a prime location for sunset, where you can overlook the city as it turns to night. Bring a bottle of wine and some coins for the musicians. 

Our host taught us about the most beneficial part of Italian culture: the aperitivo. Aperitivo is the Italian happy hour, which includes an array of free food if you purchase a drink. This is KEY for low-budget travelers and we planned our days keeping our location for aperitivo in mind. If you want to eat cheaply, this is the way to do it. The best aperitivo was at Moyo, conveniently located between the Ponte Vecchio and the train station.