Spending three months in Florence, Italy, was a dream come true. We got to experience the city, and several surrounding areas, during the quiet of February, the spring break bustle of March and the primavera (springtime) of April. We loved being there in February, as we were able to do most of the touristy stuff without having to jockey for position with every other Tomaso, Riccardo and Enrico in town. Seriously, is there anything more irritating than another tourist? Well, yes, a big pack of tourists, now that I mention it …

Things went a bit off the rails in April. We moved to an apartment outside the historical center of Florence on April 1, both tested positive for covid on April 4 and ended up having houseguests for most of the rest of the month, because one of our dear friends also got covid and wasn’t able to travel home to the U.S. for a while. His wife had to leave him behind, so she could go home to supervise their move and get their house on the market. Yikes! I know that is not what either of them signed up for. I think we all made the best of it, and I hope we were able to keep his spirits up as he awaited his negative test result! Fortunately, none of us was very sick; thanks to vaccines and boosters, we all had mild illness. Still, it does tend to put a hitch in one’s get-along.

Steve really learned his way around Florence. Me, not so much. One one day, about which the less said, the better, he had to come rescue me at the train station, where I was crying my eyes out because I was lost, couldn’t get the GPS on my phone to work and was just worn out. Of course, it’s usually just fine to get lost in Florence, because every new street, plaza or neighborhood has something to offer, and often it’s a gelato shop.

We had some of the best food and wine ever! Duh! I also discovered a new (to me) cocktail, the Hugo. It’s prosecco, elderflower liqueur, seltzer and mint, served over ice. It pairs nicely with cheese, crackers and prosciutto, in case you are wondering. Just to mix it up a bit, we found Indian and Mexican restaurants that were terrific, and which we hit a couple of times each. We also tried a Chinese place, but the platters of chicken feet and photos of bullfrog soup kinda killed my appetite. Seriously, there was a photo on the menu of one dish with a whole frog (presumably dead, but who knows for sure) trapped between chopsticks, suspended over and dripping into a bowl of hot frog broth. In fairness, I wouldn’t blame the Chinese for being grossed out at a lot of the stuff Americans eat, so let’s call it even.

We would do this all again in a heartbeat. Florence and the other parts of Italy we were fortunate to visit were beautiful, magical, romantic and sometimes confounding, and brought us immeasurable delight. My gratitude to this amazing city and country is overflowing. Grazie, Italia!