As you know I love travelling, and thankfully my husband does as well. Since we enjoy exploring new places, this time we went to Florence and I would like to share with you my experience.
We took the 2 hours flight to Bologna and from there we drove to Florence, about one and a half hours drive.
We stayed in an apartment that's 500 years old. It was interesting to feel and see the way they lived then, although the apartment has obviously been renovated since. (Fortunately, there is electricity and plumbing nowadays!) The house still had that old-world feeling though, and the architecture was authentic.
Our family personally doesn’t enjoy visiting museums and galleries so much; we prefer nature, a good walk, a beautiful sunset and sunrise, or just walking and explore an old city.
We arrived Sunday night exhausted from the journey and Monday evening was the first day of Sukkot.
We unpacked and settled ourselves in to the apartment, and then went to find the Chabad House where we would be eating our Yom Tov and Shabbos meals.
It took us about 30 minutes to walk there; it was a beautiful walk alongside the river Arno that looks lovely both by day and night.
Some of the streets are very narrow and we needed to walk single file – it was a nice experience.
At the Chabad house we had such a lovely time. We met so many people who had come as tourists, as well as many local university students.
It was very easy to find our way there as the river is an excellent reference point and you never get lost. The weather was hot but during the day we enjoyed sitting in the park while my daughter was playing. On Thursday we visited Venice, and enjoyed walking and experiencing the dream feeling, like a movie, and of course taking loads of gorgeous photos! There is a kosher restaurant there which we enjoyed.
On Friday we walked around Florence, seeing the many shops and tourist attractions, and enjoyed shopping for the colourful fruit and vegetables which are so plentiful. Afterwards we prepared ourselves and our apartment for Shabbat.
During the week we cooked in the apartment; it was really ideal for us.
On Sunday we travelled to Pisa with some stops on the way. First, we stopped in San Miniato, a small village on top of the hill where we enjoyed seeing the view and looking at the old buildings.
Our next stop was Livorno, we wanted to walk alongside the beautiful stone paved walkway but it was so windy that it was impossible, so we walked around the city instead.
Finally we reached Pisa. It was really interesting to see the famous Leaning Tower in real, after having seen it so many times in pictures! Afterwards we walked to the old city which is really old! Suddenly the clouds gathered and the sky went grey, and then really dark and it started to pour!!! We were lucky that the rain caught us when we were under a roof and near a restaurant, so we ordered orange juice and enjoyed sitting and watching the storm. After about 20-30 minutes the storm passed and we went back to Florence. On the way we stopped in Lucca, an old village with many boutique shops, but we came when they closed up so we enjoy window shopping. Cheaper that way!
Monday was Shemini Atzeret so we stayed in Florence and rested, and just enjoyed walking around the city. We enjoyed climbing a hill called Piazzale Michelangiolo and admired the view from the top.
On Wednesday night we travelled to Rome and explored the wonders of the archaeological old city. It was really hot, but we managed!
There are many kosher restaurants in Rome so we went to the milky baggetino, and after that we bought an ice cream. (In Florence there are so many ice cream shops and it was so tempting... finally we could enjoy kosher ice cream in an ice cream shop.)
In the evening we went to a Tripoli restaurant, I like to enjoy different cultures and food, so it was a nice change to discover this lovely place.
Friday morning, we travelled back to Florence for our last Shabbos there.
Finally, Sunday morning we came back home to Manchester full of our lovely experiences of Italy.