Santa Maria Novella train station has a place to store bags, Deposito bagagli a mano. A sign says no bags over 22 kg, which causes me concern because my pack is really heavy, but they never weigh it.
We buy our tickets from Firenze to Lucca (only €6 for two on the Regionale, the only service), then go in search of lunch somewhere away from the train station and the multitude of nearby McDonalds. (Why are there so many McDonald’s in Italy?)
We turn off onto Via Giulia and sit at a sidewalk bar and trattoria called La Madia. There we order a bottle of Chianti Ruffina, in a bit of a break from the usual Brunello. We each have salad and pasta. The salads are good but Scott is disappointed with his carbonara. Mine with rucola and fresh tomatoes is better. We encounter the much maligned unsalted Tuscan bread. Funny how the lack of salt makes such a difference. The bread is moist but I feel like I’m eating a kitchen sponge; there seems to be no taste to the bread.
We leave from there to go to see the Firenze cathedral, baptistery and bell tower. The piazza is very crowded and the traffic whizzes around it at disconcerting speeds. The first stop is to look at Ghiberti’s baptistery doors.
It is difficult to get close because of the tour groups and other tourists. It’s obvious that it is the focus of the building as the queue to go inside is not too long and none of the other doors, which also look bronze, are polished.
We then wander around the cathedral. There is a horrendously long queue to go into the cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore. We see later that the door which goes directly to Il Duomo is closed in preparation for Easter. As I have no intention of going up any domes, we spend our time examining the exterior and its intricate details. Scott can’t recall that the colours were so bright when he saw it 27 years ago. Maybe it was the cleaning or maybe because the sun was shining.
The Campanile de Giotto, the bell tower, also has a long queue. We can see people at the very top.
As we head for our train, I see a bunch of kids in Scouts uniforms. I walk further down the track to get away from them. We find seats and then shortly thereafter are joined by an entire troop of Scouts without an adult in sight. They’re both boys and girls about 11 – 13 years old and very noisy. I can’t follow their Italian at all which makes their chatter white noise so probably less annoying than it might have been. I forgot to validate our tickets before boarding the train and worry about getting fined, but no conductor ever shows up, so maybe I should thank the Scout group for that.