We are wrapping up our first week in Florence. Virtually everything about this adventure so far has been absolutely delightful. Truly, the Hits just keep on coming.

The apartment we rented is lovely and well-located. We have done laundry and I cooked a chicken dinner, so it’s starting to feel like we actually live here. Both of those experiences were slightly comical, though, as the appliances in Italy have symbols on them that we have never seen before and could not decrypt. The apartment thankfully has a washer and a dryer, which is not easy to find over here; however, I will be practicing that particular domestic art solo, as the “laundry room” is a tiny attic-like space off a wee bonus bedroom that doesn’t even come close to accommodating Steve’s height. It’s kind of cute, almost like a doll house back there. How convenient. For him.

The Hits: The sights, museums, streets, shops, people, architecture, food, wine and general vibe are so great. So far, we have been heading out each morning for a few hours of sightseeing, followed by a long lunch at a restaurant. Pasta dishes, stews, soups, bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, house wines – so delicious and very reasonable. Steve ordered a beef stew a couple of days ago that was so warm, hearty and flavorful that I can only describe it as satisfying on a cellular level.

The Misses: There is a cute little restaurant right next door to our apartment; unfortunately, it is confusing, weird and not that great. There were several menus posted up around the place, offering different dishes, only some of which were actually available. There were other dishes available that were not on any of the menus, but no one told you about them unless you asked for something they didn’t have. For example, “We don’t have the panna cotta that is on the menu right in front of you, but we do have a wonderful homemade tiramisu that is not on any of these meus.” As I say, confusing. Everything was served on paper plates and in paper cups, with disposable wooden utensils, and the food was meh. At the risk of sounding like a terrible snob, I can eat sub-par food on a paper plate at Chipotle, thank you very much. I was really hoping to like the place, given the primo location, but it was a dud.

A bigger miss was the two and half mile walk we took on Sunday to the Tuscan Hall for what was billed as an outdoor market, antique show, arts and crafts fair sort of sitch. Steve and I love that stuff, and have passed many a pleasant afternoon cruising around Eastern Market in DC, chatting with the vendors, picking up a gift for a friend, watching the people go by, and so forth. Well, the Tuscan Hall was in a not so lovely part of town, full of busy streets, unremarkable apartment blocks and tacky hotels. The “market” was a few sad tables in an even sadder parking lot displaying cheap costume jewelry, scary little figurines, chipped crockery, old landline telephones, used clothing and shoes (eww), a poster of Il Duce and other unwanted miscellany from down-and-out grandma’s basement. If you were a set designer for the Italian version of “All in the Family,” you could have cleaned up at this place. Total goldmine. Otherwise, not so much. It was a long walk to nowhere. On the bright side, it did make me even more grateful for our sunny, pretty apartment in this charming, Old World neighborhood.