(April 12, 2014)
We were up at a good time and able to catch a 9:35 hydrofoil to Naples. A quick taxi to the train station, where we dropped our bags, and then another one to the Archeological Museum.
THIS is where all the good stuff ended up!
Statues and frescoes galore, even mosaics. The wealthy families of Naples looted the area with abandon and its all just sitting here. We spent a good 2+ hours just wandering around, and we were pretty focused. (Oh, and if you’re not prudish, check out the Secret Cabinet.)
Another taxi took us back to the train station where we collected out bags (6 euro/bag, if you care) and caught the high speed train to Firenze. We paid for business class, with silence (no cell phones allowed, at least not to talk on) and it was pretty steep. We could have saved more if we’d bought our tickets in advance, but our schedule has been so loose I couldn’t count on that being an option. (In fact, we did have a firm commitment for an arrival time in Venice so we booked that ticket later. To give you an idea of the savings, 1st class (one way) was 183 eu, but by booking in advance we got a 2-for-1 deal at 92 eu.)
The train ride was nice, and we caught up on reading and a bit of writing. Florence SM is a well laid out station, and we easily found our way to our next lodging: Casa Corsi. This is a lovely jewel of a place set well back (sort of behind another building actually) from a very active street. There is a garden, full kitchen, and good-sized common space. HIGHLY recommended if you’re a typical tourist who’s up and out around 9am and in bed by 9pm. Most rooms share a bathroom, two have their own. (We have one of those.) The bed is comfortable, in the typical twins stuck together, which is saved by then being in a frame so the beds don’t drift apart. Roberta, the owner, met us with cookies and juice and we chatted while checking in. Turns out that this used to be her family’s home and they converted all of the rooms into bedrooms. I can easily see a family growing up here.
The neighborhood is very much a place in transition, but there are tons of local markets and eating places, and you’re literally a 15 minute walk to the Uffizi and environs. Or the Gallerie, or the Pitti (across the river). It’s a SUPER location, and about half the cost of a hotel of the same stars (approx. 60 eu/ night).
We got in a bit late for doing much of anything, so we rested, unpacked, did a bit of laundry and then went out for dinner. Trattoria Osteria Giovanni was our destination, a recommendation from our landlady. (One thing I’ve learned, when a local makes a recommendation, take them up on it.)
This is a popular place — with locals as well as travelers. Lots of languages spoken here, and the waiters were comfortable with using different words to describe the menu items. This is another restaurant that we feel deserves its reputation for excellence. As we were seated, they brought us Prosecco and small pieces of fried bread. For our starter, we shared the house ravioli — perfect pillows of pasta in a light tomato sauce. My main was braised rabbit in lentils and spinach, J had the steak. They offered biscotti at the end of the meal.
Another lovely walk home and to bed.