We are to meet our friends V and P and their family in Firenze; they were coming from Germany and then Venice and meeting us there. We lost a crucial piece of luggage which contains all of our clothes and some toiletries for R and myself. After trying to track down the missing luggage we consequently miss the driver who was assigned to take us to the hotel. He had been waiting for two hours. No cell service on our phones makes everything more complicated (Note: this is through Bell Mobility apparently Rogers would have been fine).
One staff member told our friends that the palace was once owned by Napoleon's sister Pauline Bonaparte who had married Prince Camillo Borghese, one of - if not the - richest men in Italy at the time and resided in Firenze (this would have been about 200 years ago). One hundred years ago it was also a brothel. Hmmm....
Our friends have already been here for a day so have poked about and have found one or two nice little restaurants to try. We walk to the Ponte Vecchio and get our first glimpse of the Arno river (this photo above was taken from the Ponte Vecchio). The city is lousy with tourists like us – gum chewing, flip flop wearing, camera laden gawkers, crowding the streets as scooters, bicycles, buses and cars race by, narrowly missing pedestrians. No wonder Europeans dislike us when they see slatternly teenagers taking off their shoes and examining their blistered feet and complaining loudly to all and sundry. I don't find the Fiorentines (except fro our hotel staff) to be terribly friendly. The locals on the street are clearly visible - they are the men wearing tailored slacks in 40 degree weather while the tourists are schlepping around in baggy shorts and dirty sandals.
We saw the exact spot in the Piazza where Girolamo Savonarola was executed. On the day of his execution he was taken along with Fra Silvestro and Fra Domenico da Pescia to the piazza.
The three were ritually stripped of their clerical vestments, degraded as "heretics and schismatics", and given over to the secular authorities to be burned. The three were hanged in chains from a single cross and an enormous fire was lit beneath them.
Because I had not slept at all on the flight I crashed sideways on the bed at 11 o’clock, not hearing R’s phone call to my mother nor J’s call to a friend. R has to nudge me to sleep properly on the bed. I slept the sleep of the wicked till morning. It’s quiet and dark and verrry comfortable in our room.