Postcards From An Italian Adventure – Florence This Week

Author: , August 2nd, 2010

Gay Friendly Tuscany Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Florence, Italy

Wednesday, July 21st

Hi, everyone,

To say it has been hot in Florence is such an understatement, that I will not even say that. it has been miserable. Therefore, I have been doing things around town that will help me stay cool. I have not gone to the San Ambrogio Market lately, as it has been too hot to cook, even for me.

Florence ParkI decided to find as many parks as I could, that were within easy walking distance. The park near the Fortezza, is big, has walking paths around it, with a duck pond and fountain in the center. It is a lovely place to sit and read, enjoy the solitude. Of course, I have to kick the sleeping bums off the shadiest benches before I can relax… just kidding. But there does seem to be quite a few homeless people using the parks for their summer residence.

I ventured down another street one day, and sat in the shade in the park where families were there with their children. I do not know how the kids found the energy to swing, and go down the slides, but they did, and they were happy.

In another park, Piazza Independence, I noted the statues of two statesmen. Ricasoli’s name I knew, but l still need to research Peruzzi. As I am always trying to learn something new, when I returned from my walk, I researched Ricasoli a bit further. I have no idea of how good a politician he was, but he did become Prime Minister of Italy in the late 1800’s.

However, I was more impressed with the fact that it was his original recipe for Chianti wine, that set the standard for the League of Chianti, in 1872. In 1967, the government of Italy firmly established that vintners had to follow the Ricasoli recipe, in order to receive the coveted DOCG seal of approval for Chianti.

Of course, that has been altered somewhat now, as the Ricasoli recipe contained 70% Sangiovese wine, mixed with 15% Canaiolo wine, and 15% Malvasio or Trebbiano wine (which are white wines). Now the standard is 85% Sangiovese, with the other 15% red wine of vintner’s choice, and no white wine.
Are you impressed with this knowledge? And you thought I was just another pretty American tourist!! Ha!!

Old Fortress, LivornoLast Monday, I took a little day trip to Livorno, which is on the sea coast. The harbor had several gorgeous yachts in it, and I admired the old fortress, but as soon as I got two blocks away from the harbor, with the intention of doing more sight-seeing, the heat was just as bad as it was in Florence.

I did stroll through the Mercato Centrale, and their street market (Florence’s street markets are better). I found the area that they call New Venice, because of the canals there (no one can compete with Venice, when it comes to canals). Eventually, I found a place to have a late lunch, then called it a day, due to the heat. Back to Florence I came.

Monterosso, ItalyBut yesterday, I said, “Florence, I love you, but you are killing me!” I took the train to Monterosso, the uppermost town on the Cinque Terre, rented a chair with an umbrella, and was soon floating in the clear, clean, lovely Ligurian Sea. I had a lovely day there. Now that was truly a day of La Dolce Vita. I felt ever so much better when I returned to Florence.

In two days, I am leaving for Vienna, Austria, where I think it will be not only cooler, but projected rain for the 4 days I am staying there. From there I will go to Salzburg for two days. The Summer Music Festival is happening during the time I will be there, so I am excited about that. I will spend one night in Innsbruck, a place I have never been. From there I will go to Lake Lugano, Switzerland, for two nights. Frank and I and our fellow travelers had stayed in Lugano in 2001, and loved it, so I will be happy to be there again.

I will try to keep up the blog while I am traveling. This is truly the trip of a lifetime, and I know how fortunate I am to be able to do this. I will have great memories forever.

I miss all of you. Wish that some of you were here to enjoy this with me. Keep in touch, and let me know how you are doing.

Love to all,


Want to Follow Bella’s Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

Click here for gay travel resources in Florence & Tuscany.