Travel Journal

Mugello Valley and Florence

(Thursday 27 May 2010) by Jill's travels
Hi, Hope you are all well, we’ve missed speaking and hearing from you but since arriving in Italy at the beginning of May the internet access has been very poor or just too expensive. I continued to write journals of where we have been and I’ve now put them on the blog. We arrived in Tuscany in the Mugello Valley on Saturday, 8 May, just 20 km from Florence (Firenze). Since arriving we had several days of thunder, lightening and heavy rainfall. In fact, the local people are telling us that this part of Italy has had 15 days of rain which is very unusual for May. Saying that, it is still very warm and when the rain stops the sun shines and temperatures can rapidly go up to 25 degrees. The Mugello Verde Site is very basic but full of wildlife so, perfect for relaxing. The only downside is the area around us has quite steep and fast roads which makes it very difficult to walk or cycle around. So, we’ve had some lazy days because of this and the rain but we did make it to Florence.

The drive was stunning to the City, passing villages nestled in the mountainside; it was the Tuscany we were expecting to see but hadn’t when we first arrived in the Mugello Valley. The roads were very narrow and winding in parts with most of them needing an overhaul! The drive through the City was quite scary with fast erratic drivers everywhere and beggars standing at the traffic lights. We found an underground car park right next to the Police Station and market place and with the University closeby it was very busy with young people sitting around eating pizza or Panini’s. We found the City to be quite spread out with three different bus tours which they had colour coded on the map of the city which was a good guide for us. We headed of on the pink route which takes in Museo Bardini and Piazzale Michelangelo. To get to them there is a bit of a steep climb but is rewarded with a view of the City and the River (which runs through it) an a lovely Italian Ice cream man. We bought an ice cream and the heavens opened. We must have sheltered for about 15 minutes before the rain stopped dancing on the pavements. We then took a short walk to the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge which has rows of jewellers on both sides, very expensive, very busy and very wet. Once over the bridge there were many people queuing (a 2 hour wait) to go into the Museum (Uffizi) to see the famous Michelangelo statue. We didn’t join them but managed to get through all the umbrellas and came out in the Palazzo Vecchio where hundreds of people were clambering to take pictures of all the other famous statues. We got to the Piazza Duomo where the Piazzale Michelangelo stood and there we stayed for quite some time taking in the scale and the intricate detail and craftsmanship of the architecture. The Basilica di San Lorenzo came next and on to the Piazza Marco and finished up at the market by the car park where we bought dinner to take home. The food has proved to be the most expensive since starting the trip and with the Toll Road charges, pretty expensive all round! Mugello Valley is flat but very green and Florence whilst the Piazzale Michelangelo is an amazing building but not sure is worth a second visit best wishes, hope to hear from you all soonxxxx


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