The closer we got to Florence today, the more beautiful the view became, with sprawling farms and countryside manors dotting the hills.

And now! Meet Luiano! Our intrepid “it’s just Italian” tiny car…

Luiano was an automatic, but for some reason, undiscernible to us…it kept changing from automatic to manual and it seemed to do this pretty much whenever he felt like it…after some unkind words vented towards poor little Luiano…we just decided…Eh…it’s just Italian! So, we made friends and laughed along with Luiano through the rest of our adventures. (Side note: Duke figured out, on the last day of sharing our lives with Luiano, that the AM on the console meant; automatic/manual…he just need to shift the shifter over to indicate which one! Ah, Americanos!!!)

The lovely drive to Florence took almost 3 hours, due primarily to a...

few missed tunnels...

In a tunnel much like this one (albeit not a divided highway!) nevertheless, headed the wrong way, Mi Duca pulled a Jason Bourne! Without batting an eye, he head-checked, mirror-checked, head-checked once more, swerved to the right and instituted a UEE, that would make Bourne envious! And he didn’t hit ONE car!!! Oh yeah!!!

and wrong roderus,

“Uhhh, honey, we need to be over there!”

However, we have to give credit where credit is due…Google maps deserves kudos for all of the world that it has mapped out and navigates well. As we found, it helps to turn off the directional (Siri) voice, which will occasionally, and always at the wrong moment, start yelling out multiple directions...right, no left, no straight ahead....at the next turn make a U-turn (Hint: Refer to DAY FIVE and the road to Ancient Thira…hence roderu.)

Arriving in Florence has always been Duke’s worst nightmare. The streets are narrow, full of tourists, and you can never find a place to park! Although, the Italians seem to park ANYWHERE they want! Hmmm, what’s up with that???

Fortunately, we found our hotel and underground parking right up the street. Once parked, the attendant wanted to know if we would need the car tonight...Duke looked at him with amazement and his whole face said it all...”Signore, once that car is parked, we aren't going anywhere in it until we’re on our way out of town!” If you could’ve seen that looked you would’ve cringed, too!

Our hotel is literally at the foot of the Ponte Vecchio!

The picture below is from the balcony of our room

On the top floor of the hotel was a gorgeous al fresco wine bar…

With killer views!

We decided to follow the directions of our concierge to a small outdoor café in a quaint square…where the dining was superb! Remember this square as it figures largely into our Firenze departure!

We didn't get about much the rest of the day, because I was feeling worse, and as Duke says, “You can bet she is sick when she mentions not feeling well.” My Duke, ever the kind, compassionate person he is…called for a physician. The dottore come to our room, listened to my lungs and pronounced that I was in the early stages of walking pneumonia! L He wrote a scrip which Duke had to get filled. However! Because of the tough women in my heritage, I was not about to let it get me down…we just needed to pace ourselves. A pace to which my Duke was ever amenable…slow down and amble.

A nightcap on the roof and a magnificent view of the Italian sunset…ended our first day in Firenze.

The closer we got to Florence today, the more beautiful the view became, with sprawling farms and countryside manors dotting the hills.