We were all feeling revitalized after quenching Ryan’s thirst for a game of catch on Sunday and he was begging to go back for more. Sadly, we realized that the Boboli, along with most museums in Florence, is closed on Mondays. I was able to sneak out on an early morning run before Zach left for his meetings - can't beat the views on that run!
The kids had slept in thanks to our late jetlag schedule so we decided to have a lazy morning at home. We did laundry for the first time, which was good because they typically don’t have clothes dryers in Italy so everything was hung on racks to air dry - doing laundry for six people this way becomes quite the time consuming process!
We headed out late morning and walked a bit off the beaten path to find a local playground. It was about a 15 minute walk, but worth the trek for some playtime and the feeling of some normalcy like a day we might have at home. One of our goals for our time in Florence was to just experience day to day life there, especially during the few days when Zach was getting up to go to meetings and the kids and I were free to explore on our own. Shopping at the Central Market, going to the playground, and doing laundry abroad were some of our most memorable experiences, right up there with the cultural tours and sightseeing. It's such an important part of travel with kids, just exposing them to new cultures and allowing them to experience day to day life in another language or another country.
Everyone needed a little gelato pick-me-up after our playground time, so we visited La Carraia, the Gelateria that Viola and Vittorio had recommended. Yum!
We wandered around a bit more, exploring the Ponte Vecchio, taking a few more carousel rides, and ultimately ended up back at Hosteria de Ganino for lunch.
After lunch, we went back to our apartment for some quiet time before meeting up with Zach at the end of his meetings. Kate had found us a babysitter for Monday evening so that I could attend Zach's work dinner event.
I was a little nervous about leaving the kids, but they all did great with the sitter and Nettie got a ton of great insights from her for her Italy country project at school!
The big excitement of the day was that Erin went off to school with Viola for the day! The girls had been pen pals for a few months and were fast friends when they met on Saturday, but we were still beyond impressed by Erin's poise and bravery in heading off to an Italian school for an 8 hour day! She loved every minute of it and had so many stories for us at the end of the day. What an amazing experience!
While Erin was at school and Zach was off to his final morning of meetings, the little kids and I found Kate's favorite bakery and restocked ourselves with some of their delicious treats for lunch and snacks. And stopped for gelato. Because when in Florence...
We took our treasures to the Boboli Gardens for more play time, and the kids were excited to show Zach around when he met up with us at noon.
One of the other treasures we picked up in our travels was a small set of watercolor paints and brushes from a sweet little art shop, so the kids (and I!) had a great time back at the apartment in the afternoon playing with those.
It was such a treat on Tuesday night to have a local Italian chef come to our apartment for a cooking demo. We had an amazing meal and she did a wonderful job of engaging the kids in different kitchen tasks. She made a delicious sausage and baguette appetizer, chicken cacciatore and roasted potatoes, and the kids made tiramisu for dessert. We tried to scribble down recipe notes as she was cooking from memory so we can recreate some of these dishes at home! We ate appetizers on our roof deck before the sun went down, and it was such a perfect finale to our time in Florence.
We had a few hours left in Florence before our departure for Tuscany. We had tickets to view the David at the Accademia so we headed there first. Zach and I had seen the sculpture on our last trip to Florence, but it was just as spectacular seeing it again. We had read several books with the kids before our trip and one of Ryan’s favorites was The Stone Giant, so he found it especially cool to see David in person.
As a side note, some of our other favorite kids books were Pippo the Fool (about the building of Bruneleaci’s duomo), the Bella and Harry series (for both Paris and Florence), and the Mission: Paris and Mission: Florence scavenger hunt books.
We didn’t stay too long at the Accademia but took a stroll through the nearby exhibits after we saw the David.
After the museum, we wanted to show Zach the Mercato Centrale and enjoy one more delicious pizza and burrata toast before we left. We ate our early lunch - including an adventurous taste of lampredotto, which even Zach couldn’t stomach. Look it up and you’ll understand!
We headed back to our apartment and let the kids watch a movie while I packed up and Zach began the torturous experience of picking up the rental car. Read all about that in our Tuscany post!