20 Jun Florence: Open your mouth and your mind

[caption id="attachment_2182" align="alignnone" width="660"] Helloooooo paradise![/caption] I have several initial, unfettered, pure thoughts on being in Florence for 4 days: The clean streets are completely walkable giving off an "old Europe" charm. So much cheap wine and natural, fresh, local, great-tasting food! Have you ever ordered macaroni and cheese? Pasta and meat sauce? I'm sure you have. Order it in Florence, Italy and a party explodes in your mouth. Taste buds dance all day long here. Tourists abound, sure. But take a side street and it's all Italian language. Order a coffee in broken Italian (or no Italian at all, just using your hands!) and you're transported to real-life Italy. Art is EVERYWHERE. Yesterday I went to an art and ceramic restoration business. 4th generation family. After walking the aisles of impressive 13/14/15/16th century paintings and works getting touched up, I accidently hit a gold-colored pointed dome-like structure needing some fixing (it rests atop a church usually, but is only 8 feet tall). I apologized to Tomasso, the owner's son, for knocking it. "Oh, no harm done," he said casually. "But it is a work by Michelangelo."  When Florentines speak, they sing. Hands gyrate and sway and cut the air like a butcher's knife to a slab of beef on Via della Cernaia. Be ready to speak with your hands. Conclusion: Florence is a travelers paradise. And for a Panroamers perspective of Florence, be sure to follow Kelly's blog here. Tony Amante Schepers...

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