The first family member to come visit is my sister, Gabby.  I have a total of 5 sisters and 1 brother…big family, I know.  I will leave that for another post.  lol

Gabby came to Italy with her husband, Javier, and their two children, Iliana & Diego.  Herbie and I met them in Rome, the commencement of a whirlwind tour of Italy.  We stayed in Rome for 3 nights, then took the train to Florence.  Since there were six of us, it was easier to rent an apartment.  We found one conveniently situated by the Ponte Vecchio, which is the beginning of the shopping area.

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When I think of Florence, I think of shopping!  And not just shopping, but shopping for leather goods at a decent price.  There are high-end stores as well.  The shopping attracts many tourists, but also attracts the damn gypsies trying to pickpocket your clueless self.  I know because it happened to us.  We were at a store looking at the leather gloves when two young, blond girls came in.  They looked harmless and ready to go out and party.  The store clerk told us to put our purses in front of us.  After the girls left, the store clerk and my sister and me and that those two girls were out to pick pocket people.  They were professionals and fortunately, they were well known by the vendors in the area.  Thank God for that clerk.  Otherwise, it would’ve been the first time I was victimized and I would’ve give my husband something to nag about.  He’s always telling me about how carefree I am.

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Anyway, after some shopping, we went out to dinner.  I was told by someone I met in Greece that Florence had a wonderful steakhouse and we decided to check it out.  The restaurant was just outside of the main tourist areas.  We had reservations, so we did not have to wait for our table.  We shared a Florentine steak…oh..em.gee.  It was cooked to perfection!  The steak was wonderfully seasoned and all we needed was a bottle of red to wash it down with.  Divine!

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After dinner, we went back to our apartment.  The living room overlooked the Arno River and there was a wedding going on across from us.  We were pleasantly surprised with fireworks that lasted well over 10 minutes.  It was a perfect ending to a great day!

In the middle of town, you will find the Piazza del Duomo where you will see the hard-to-miss cathedral.  The super-size cathedral is Renaissance style and is very impressive!

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Of course the main attraction in Florence is the Accademia Gallery.  This is where Michaelangelo’s David statue is displayed.  I encourage you to buy tickets ahead of time.  You can buy them here and you will be able to skip the long lines.

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Overall, the experience was great!  I would like to return to Florence for some more shopping!

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