So easy to say “I love something” stressing on the word love. When one may not really mean that. I am guilty of that. So with my dear Firenze(Florence) I’ll say I like Firenze very much. I think to love something, someone or someplace you have to have a really long association with it. My initial reaction after a one day visit to Firenze was that it was ridiculously crowded and noisy but kept clean; and I was never going back. You know what they say about never say never… My 2015 Sept end hiking trip started in this city so I decided to go a couple of days ahead and also stay a day after. Not a lot of time but boy was I surprised! Still crowded, noisy and clean; but once the tourists left for the day.. a different Firenze. I walked a LOT and found some really neat finds – The Campanile (Bell tower of the Duomo) is a much easier climb and gives really neat close up views of the Duomo. A suitable challenger to Toronto’s St Lawrence Market right in the historic centre  – the venerable Mercato Centrale. What treat it turned out to be. Fresh from the oven pizza – wood fire, of course – while you wait a couple of minutes, Chianti wine by the glass and really reasonable at that!! Aah..The AirBnB landlady told me to visit a peaceful little garden called Giardino Bardini instead of the more popular Boboli gardens. Which was lovely, empty, had a lot of shade and had a stunning view of Firenze! The San Miniato al Monte church where they have Gregorian chants with their evening Mass! Timing of said Mass is totally subject to change. If you plan to walk to the church from Firenze, it is a LONG and steep walk with a lot of steps. But so worth it! I didn’t visit the usual suspects of the tourist books but just soaked in the city. I realized I have a huge crush on the Duomo – Cattadrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. I would never climb the insane steps to the top ever again but otherwise it is my favourite structure after the CN Tower. And this is my favourite view of the city from piazzale Michelangelo!!


Here are some other shots of Firenze and couple of the David statue – some folks wondered if the painted statue in Mercato Centrale was the “real” one!


The duomo as seen from the Campanile




The Campanile with the Duomo at the back.



Yup, right bang in the middle of the market!


At piazzale Michelangelo



At Giardino Bardini


Look at who you can see around this stunning sculpture!!



San Miniato al Monte


View from San Miniato al Monte!