I arrived in Florence with a bit of a thud. I left the tiny little village of Portovenere early in the morning and a few hours later there I was at Santa Maria Novella station in the ever busy, frenetic Florence trying to find the right place to catch the bus to take me to Santo Spirito. It was all too hard so in the end I dragged myself and my bag the 1½ kms to my apartment in Oltrarno, arriving a hot sweaty mess.

It always takes a little time to get one's bearings and although I'd been to Florence a few times. I'd not stayed in Oltrarno before. This was my street corner and once spied I knew I was close to home.

My apartment was just around the corner from the Santo Spirito church and the lively square.

I was lucky enough to hear these choristers practising.

I didn't have to go far to find some great places for dinner including a delicious wood fired pizza at Gusta Pizza.

The square in black and white.

I found a lovely artisanal gelato shop, the Gelateria della Passera, and had a delicious passionfruit and lemon gelato, a must in Florence's heat.

Even though I didn't buy anything here, S. Forno looked very enticing.

It has an unassuming facade so it's easy to miss.

Even though you're on the 'other side' in Oltrarno, nothing in Florence is too far away. Every day I'd walk past the Greek Orthodox Church where I found these beautiful wedding flowers.

I did lots of walking and would catch the local buses if my destination was too far away.

The Ponte Vecchio was my local bridge but often it was so crowded, I'd take the next bridge over.

Florence is uncomfortably busy in summer so I'd leave home at 7.00 a.m. to get some quiet photos without the crowds.

Like this one of il Porcellino.

If he looks familiar, he is. We have a replica statue outside Sydney Hospital with a similar burnished snout.

The duomo is the jewel in the crown of Florence, so it's very crowded around there. Unfortunately the duomo is undergoing renovation so parts are covered in scaffolding at the moment.

I went early to take this black and white photo but had sunshine and a nicer sky when I returned to take the colour version.

Just around the corner from the Duomo I found this cute fruit van.

On my 4th trip to Florence I finally made it to the Uffizi Gallery.

It was worth the wait when I finally got to see the Gallery's Boticellis and the newly restored Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Adoration of the Magi'.

Of course I went to the markets, the Sant'ambrogio market and C. Bio.

I ate my way through a number of tasty Sicilian melons.

A cute idea to repurpose all those old tomato tins.

I made a pilgrimage to the Basilica Santa Croce to see the beautiful Brunelleschi Cloister.

Most people don't seem to know that this cloister exists. I've been twice now and have had the place pretty much to myself on both occasions.

It's a quiet contemplative place and I find it unutterably beautiful.

Churches, galleries, markets. What's missing from Jillian's list? Gardens.

I had 2 gardens on my list, the Pitti Palace Gardens and the Bardini Gardens, both of which are located in Oltrarno.

The Palazzo Pitti gardens are massive and very formal.

I much preferred the Bardini Gardens with their killer views of Florence.

3 days in Florence wasn't long enough but I hope you enjoyed this little snippet of my time in Florence.

See you all again soon with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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