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  1. #76

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    oh the shopping! I would have found a way to get one of those tuscan tile scenes home!
    Just countin' the days til the next visit!

  2. #77

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    Oh Charlie! Your report has been wonderful! I may or may not have shed a few tears... Hehehe. I can't wait for the rest.

    One more thing (and I've probably said it before)... your wife is BEAUTIFUL. Whew! You are one lucky man, Mr. Charlie! <3

    To live would be an awfully big adventure.

  3. #78

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report




    Today was our anniversary!



    To celebrate, I thought I’d show my wife how much I love her by taking her to Florence for a day of sight-seeing, shopping and a good dinner. What a lucky gal! Of course, already being in Florence helped out tremendously!

    We left the villa around 8:30 am and headed down the hill towards Florence. We hit some rush-hour traffic, but our driver was knew how to get around traffic snarls… he was an amazing chauffeur.

    Our driver Marious got us within a couple of blocks of the Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s David. We then trekked the short distance to the museum and waited about 5 minutes to get in.


    While we waited, an illegal street vendor who had artwork laid out on the ground got chased off by a Polizia officer on a motorcycle.

    See how he lays one print slightly on top of the other so he can scoop them up to make a fast exit?Copyright infringement is a big problem in Italy. So big, that the Italian government now prosecutes purchasers of copyrighted items just as vigorously as the illegal vendors.

    Our art/history guide escorted us in and proceeded to tell us about Michelangelo’s “Prisoners”. These are sculptures that Michelangelo started and never completed. They are called "Prisoners" because Michelangelo always felt that he was being used as a tool of God, and that when he sculpted, he was simply removing the excess marble that was around the already completed figure. Hence, the unfinished statues were still "prisoners" stuck in the marble!








    We then walked into the main hall where the staute of “David” is. It is a magnificent work, that can only be truly appreciated by seeing in person. I was in awe…




    After viewing David, the group was given about ˝ hour to see the rest of the Accademia. We then gathered near an exit and walked towards the Duomo.

    Along the way we stopped at a bazaar that was interesting. There was a bronze wild boar fountain outside was supposed to bring you good luck if you put money in his mouth and the coins then fell into a small grate after falling out of his mouth. I didn’t play…


    … but I was getting my appetite whetted for leather goods!




    Our group continued on to the Piazza Del Duomo.


    The Duomo was built in the 14th century and is another awe-inspiring work. It is amazing to see what these people were able to accomplish 600-700 years ago!












    After visiting the Duomo, we were given our walking papers by Tina and Marco. We decided to walk to the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, a Florence landmark.




    One of Europes oldest bridges, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge is now home to many of Florence’s high-end jewelers and goldsmiths.












    Tiring of beautiful trinkets, we decided to get some lunch. We walked the short distance to the Piazza della Republic, or Republic Square.






    It is still a gathering place for people, musicians, and vendors. Someone even tried to get me to sign a petition...


    We found a nice outdoor café there and had a great pasta lunch with our friends from Chicago.


    After lunch we headed towards the San Lorenzo Marketplace, a ˝ mile long street with connecting side streets full of vendors… many of them leather sellers. Florence is known for it’s leather products and believe me, they did not disappoint. Every conceivable colored purse, in any style, was available, as was a tremendous selection of leather jackets attaches, messenger bags, gloves, skirts, pants… you name it.








    Yeah… we did a little shopping. In fact, I had to buy a shoulder-mounted duffel bag to haul away the booty from San Lorenzo!


    The “Adventures By Disney” tour was supposed to meet back at the bus at 3pm to go back to the villa, but we had made arrangements with our friends from Chicago to stay in Florence for the afternoon, and then get a nice dinner that evening.

    We had the desk manager at the villa hook us up with a taxi that would pick us up that night at our restaurant at 10 pm.

    Our shopping spree ended about 4pm and we met our friends for a gelato.


    The four of us then walked towards the Arno river which was on the way to our restaurant.





    ...And THIS is why Tigerlily doesn't take the pictures!

    Our dinner reservation was at 7:30, which was when the restaurant opened. They open late, but the also stay open late, which for me is a very cool thing! So we had some time to kill before dinner, so we stopped at a sidewalk café and had some wine. I can’t believe it, but I didn’t take any pictures… I guess I was just enjoying myself too much to remember!

    Our restaurant, Buca Mario…


    …opened promptly at 7:30 and we were seated in a room towards the back. To be quite honest, I don’t remember our entire dinner like I did the meal we had at Ristorante 34. We had a problem at our company back home and I had to leave our table several times and go up to street level to make a cell phone call.


    But it was our anniversary and I was going to enjoy this evening with my wife and our friends! I vaguely recall fried artichoke hearts and calimari, polenta and pasta with something from the sea. What I do remember my friends, was the steak!


    It was the largest porterhouse I’d ever seen. This was a steak for 3, and it was too much at that!


    We muscled our way thru that huge chunk-o-beef and finished our meal off with tiramasu, limoncello, and I also tried grappa a very potent (38-60% alcohol) Italian brandy.

    We were feeling no pain that night as we tumbled into our spacious van for one last ride up the hill to our villa. We had milked a full day out of Florence. It was time to blow this popshop and head to Venice… first-class in a Eurostar bullet train.

    But that would have to wait ‘til tomorrow. Tonight all we had to worry about was unlocking the door to our room and falling into bed. What an anniversary it had been!

    Tomorrow: We board a high-speed bullet train bound for Venice, ride a gondola thru the canals of Venice, and see Saint Marks Square.

    CONTINUE THE ADVENTURE... CLICK HERE!
    Last edited by Circarama; 11-05-2008 at 04:35 PM.
    Charlie
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  4. #79

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    I love that you have the flexibilty of having down time built in to your trips to enjoy the flavor of the area you are visiting. That is one thing we missed on our Med cruise--you were rushed a lot and did not have the opportunity to experience the local ambiance.
    Last edited by Fairy Godmother Travel; 11-03-2008 at 05:40 AM.
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  5. #80

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    Still continuing to amaze me with the TR. Looks like so much fun.


  6. #81

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    What a great way to celebrate your anniversary with Michelangelo's art. I am hoping that just when you think you are done with this report which will be a sad day, that you will show us all the goodies you picked up on your trip. I sure hope Tigerlily did some shopping because so far I only see you with stuff.

  7. #82

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    I am enjoying this T.R. so much.
    I feel like we were there with you.
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. #83

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    I love your Florence segment--especially the pics of the Duomo and the demonstration of Tigerlily's photography.

    But I can't wait to see Venice! Thanks for continuing this awesome trip report!

  9. #84

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    They made you share that porterhouse? Outrageous!

    Bravissimo! More, please!
    "Not Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Astor together could have
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  10. #85

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    What a fabulous trip! I can't wait to see the pictures of Venice

  11. #86

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    Thanks for all the props you guys!! The next installment probably won't come out until Tuesday evening. I have to bone up on the election issues so I can be an "informed voter".

    'Til then... here's a few teaser pics for you.










    Charlie
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  12. #87

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    That steak is insane!!

    I love Tigerlily's picture, too!

    I can't wait for the Venice portion. The gondolas have me swooning!
    <o>

  13. #88

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    Sorry Duplicate Post
    Last edited by Dustysage; 11-05-2008 at 11:57 AM.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse princess View Post
    Of course I am worried about your mental health. I want happiness for all. Like we can all be like the Smurfs. But without Gargomel. He was mean.

  14. #89

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    Charlie - this is one of the best trip reports I have ever seen. Thank you for sharing with us!

    My cousin lives in Florence with her Italian boyfriend. Now I really want to visit her!
    One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse princess View Post
    Of course I am worried about your mental health. I want happiness for all. Like we can all be like the Smurfs. But without Gargomel. He was mean.

  15. #90

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    Re: Viva Italia!! Circarama's "Adventures By Disney" Trip Report

    Tease? I'll say!! K, so you're voting early this morning so you can get back to TR business, right?
    Just countin' the days til the next visit!

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