Getting Ready Part 2: Around our Florence Hotel

Hi again!  It's Jill from International Eye. In Part 2, we explore Florence on foot for fitness and to discover Instagram-worthy locales that you MUST post on your FB, Snapchat or Instagram feeds.  This will take anywhere between 2 hours and 4 hours - totally dependent upon how often you want to stop, shop and take photos.

For our Florence attendees, expect a group email very soon from me to discuss potential group tours, day trips and other experiences you might be interested in.  I know some of y'all like to do things on your own, but for those that like to hang out in a group, we have lots of options.  You just let me know what you'd like to do and we'll get some groups together.

Historic Florence Map; Our Hotel is the Red Star

OK, time to put on your walking shoes, grab a light jacket and head on up to Michelangelo's Plaza (or Piazzale Michelangelo).  I'm not gonna lie, it's a bit of a climb (lots of stairs), but trust me, it's worth it.

It's a short walk (8 minutes) to the Arno River, then take a left (to go East) and keep walking along our side (Centro Storica) of the Arno.  Cross over the Arno at the next bridge to the Oltrarno side ("South of the Arno"), then keep walking until you see the San Niccolò Tower.  The Tower is the entrance into the lower gardens and walking paths/stairs to the Piazzale.  You'll know it when you reach the top - your calves and quads will have had a workout. You'll be able to grab a celebratory espresso or cafe at one of the many vendors in the Piazzale.

At the top, this is where postcard photographers get their shots. You can see it all: the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi, even the mountains in the distance. And, even if you don’t think you can take one more church, pay a visit to the Church of San Miniato al Monte. An absolute gem of a church, the basilica dates back to the 11th century and is one of the finest Romanesque churches in all of Italy. And Pinocchio’s creator is buried in the cemetery outside. (If you don’t want to make the 20-minute walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo and San Minato al Monte, you can take buses 12 or 13 from Ponte alle Grazie to the piazza).

From there, walk to the West and walk along the old town wall at Via Belvedere until you reach the Forte di Belvedere, then explore the fort and the Bardini Gardens or the exquisite Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace.

Walking back downhill towards the Arno, you'll run right into the Ponte Vecchio, where you can either cross back over the river or walk along the Arno to capture incredible images with the river mirroring the buildings.

Lots more to talk about and I'll continue the "Getting Ready for Florence" series in my next email. Stay tuned!

For those reading and haven't registered yet...what are you waiting for?!? - JOIN US!  If you don't have time to plan your trip, I can do it for you.  Seriously, it's fun for me!

In the meantime, join us for our Florence CE starring John McGreal, OD for 15 hours of COPE approved credit! You can register at www.internationaleye.net/registration

See you in Florence!


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