THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
A mad rush to Mantua
Another day in Florence


I am back in my favourite city and Mrs Paine II is enjoying its delights for the first time. After yesterday's stress, we had only a two hour run to Florence, so took a leisurely breakfast and sauntered automotively to the autostrada. South of Modena a convoy of three Ferraris overtook us at speed and we made a fourth for a few exciting kilometres until they decided to comply more narrowly with the speed limits and we left them behind. 

The first of two challenges was exiting the toll road. Our ticket was rejected for some reason the help desk lacked the English to explain. In the end the machine issued a "pay later" ticket and the barrier lifted. We still don't know what the problem was (and the "pay later" toll seems high) but no matter. The second was finding our quaint city B&B in an old apartment building on a roundabout outside the city's southern gate. After circling the block a couple of times we eventually found it. We parked in the careless Italian style we'd seen others adopt, and unloaded. Our hostess directed me to a quaint little garage nearby where Speranza was given a place of honour for the next two days. 

Then we headed out to find some lunch and begin our exploration. This is my third visit and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my wife’s reaction to catching sight of the Piazza della Signoria for the first time. There’s a known psychological phenomenon that makes us want to share a great movie or book with our loved ones and it probably accounts for the pleasure I felt in seeing a familiar favourite place through her eyes. 


As always our travels are recorded on the "Track my Tour" app and the map can be found here


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Rome is on our to do list too but Florence was my wife’s special request for this tour.


Florence is one of the top places that I want to visit in Italy. Mr C prefers the idea of Rome.

I suspect that we will be visiting Rome first. I have found a rather special accomodation place to stay there :-)


We agree. We’re already working out what to do next time we’re there! You were lucky to spend so long. How’s your Italian? Do you have a Firenze accent?!


One of my favourite cities to visit too. It's also a good city for getting around on foot. I've been there half a dozen times over the years and once spent a month at language school in Florence, doing a homestay with a lovely Italian family. We never seemed to run out of things to see in all that time.

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