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Italy - Day 8 : Florence

We left without breakfast

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Just one flower at the campsite
 

First, we had to push our bikes up the steep gravel road. Fortunately, the day started with a descent and remained reasonably flat. In the first village passed, we bought food, a huge white bread without any taste or salt that would take us four days to finish. The stores were all without signs or even windows, so they were impossible to find without asking around. All old people in the village drove around in small three-wheeled cars with a trunk. Realistically there was only place for one person in the front, but typically two people were sitting there. The vehicles were Piaggios with a scooter engine. The day before we had also seen a couple.

 

The route passed via Siena to Florence. Until Siena, the road would be flat, then it would be another 50 km. About 10 km before Siena, we overtook a man dragging a cart behind his bike with a microwave in it. He lived in Siena and told us there were two roads to Florence. The first was nice and hilly, the other shorter, flatter, and more ugly. We chose the hilly road. Because we hadn't planned to cycle here, today's route was not in my GPS. Upon leaving Siena, we noticed a sign 'Florence 75'. It turned out we hadn't added all the distances correctly, and it indeed was still 75 instead of 50 km.

We didn't know the exact directions for the hilly route and still ended up on the larger road. The signs next to the road were completely off. First, it said 75 km, and then a few kilometers later 55 km. Repeatedly the same distance was indicated on signs several kilometers apart. Unfortunately, the distance seemed to get increasingly larger.

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View along the way.
 

It was super hot and with 40 km to go we went into a supermarket. We bought ice creams and donut peaches so we would have some energy to cycle. Meanwhile, we had already cycled 90 km while we thought we would have to cycle only 100 today. We definitely wouldn't arrive in Florence early.

After a few kilometers, we lost directions again, the roads were horrible here. We had left the mountains, but now the route was meandering over all sorts of hills, which was even more challenging. There were so many roads that it was hard not to get lost. At one point, there was a sign 'Florence 27 km' and then a bit later, 'Florence 28 km'. We noticed we were getting closer as the roads got more crowded. We had planned to arrive in Florence around 4 o'clock, but it was already passed 6.

 

Finally, we arrived, but we still needed to cycle 5 km through the city to reach the campsite. A hundred meters before the campsite, we passed the famous Piazza Michelango square with a beautiful view over Florence. We could nicely see the cathedral and the inner city. There was a replica of Michelangelo's David and a bunch of touristy stuff. I wondered if there would really be a campsite only 100 meters away or if I had made a mistake in programming the GPS.

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.

view over Florance
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View over the center of Florence.
 

Fortunately, the campsite existed. We showered quickly and headed towards the center. Along the way we bought some ice, which again tasted terrific.

river in Florence

Bridges in Florence.
 

We walked into Florence's old center via the Ponte Vecchio.

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The Gate to Paradise
 

We ordered a beer in front of the cathedral. It was 7 euros but worth the view. We already felt tipsy after just one beer. We walked around some more and found a place to have dinner.

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Next to the cathedral

Campanile di Giotto

Campanile di Giotto.
 

We found a menu consisting of a plate of pasta, a plate with meat and potatoes, and a glass of wine for only 15 euros. After we finished eating, it was getting dark already. Meanwhile, Bram had become an expert on Florence, so he knew a nice square nearby.

Piazza di Santa Croce

Piazza di Santa Croce

ponte vecchio at night

Ponte Vecchio at night

Florence at night
Florence at night

Piazza di Michelangelo at night
 

We walked back to the camping and tried to sleep. Nearby was a dance club with loud music. Luckily the music was good.

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Route of day 8

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Height profile of day 8. There weren't any huge climbs, but many hills.

Distance cycled : 136 km.

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