The Pasta alla Norma I cooked:
It may not look that great but it tasted great! Yum i love eggplant (aubergine).
Back in Florence:
A normal touristi day out in Florence might include a walk to the Duomo to climb up the stairs to the top of the dome. You and the kids will love it. To find your way to the Duomo is not too hard, it is in the centre of the city and you can normally see the dome or the bell tower. But there are street signs everywhere with directional arrows like this:
These signs are everywhere in Florence, the best ones point you to the Public Toilets.
When you find the Duomo do not enter from the front of the church (you will no doubt find many people lined up to go in this way) They are lined up to see inside the church (chiesa) not to climb the dome. The dome entrance is to the left of the main entrance where the church joins the dome. It costs €8 , the climb is not easy if you are in a rush, so get there when it opens at 8.30am Monday to Friday. I only say this because you climb narrow stairs one way and you cannot stop as people cannot pass you. You want to get there early and take it easy so that you don’t tire too much. My sons were 10 and 8 when they did it, they got to the top before me so it wasn’t as hard for them as it was for me. At the very top there is a set of stairs that is more like a ladder that you have to climb to get out onto the top of the Duomo. I recommend wearing pants or shorts (I wore a dress, this was not such a great idea especially at the top of the ladder ). The burning calves and slight breathlessness is all worth it when you get to the top and see the amazing views of Florence from the dome. Then if you are game you can climb the bell tower as well.
Really if you get in the door at 8.30am you will be well and truly back down on the ground by 11am, then you can stretch out your sore legs and look for somewhere to eat lunch.
Buying lunch in Florence
Do not be tempted to buy something from the restaurants near the Duomo (this is the most expensive area and you probably won’t be happy with the food) In fact wonder down the back streets and alleyways for better food. Try a trattoria for traditional Italian food like pasta, bistecca fiorentina (famous dish) and pizza. However a place we found that sold really tasty pizza was near the Santa Maria Novella on Via Panzani called Franco Express (or it was the place next door with Moka Efti above the door) There is an EXTYN Italia near by on the same side of the street. I am telling you this because the pizza tasted good, it was hot and they had a toilet in the back.
If you must buy takeaway, find a small local grocer or supermarket , even a 99c shop for you drinks because for the price of one bottle of soft drink at a takeaway you can get 4 at a supermarket. The 99c shops are great because everything inside is literally 99c even the cold drinks.
Back in Australia
We are off to a 25th Anniversary tonight, so Italy is to be continued…
Ciao for now