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TRAVELING IN STYLE.....Europe 2010: Florence Part Due!
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Arno River, Continentale Bar, David Paul, Duomo Florence Italy, Europe 2010, Florence Italy, Hotel Lungarno, Nick and David in Europe, Nick Verreos in Europe, Traveling in Style
Hot & Humid in Firenze, an 8-Euro Step-Climber and Cocktails at the Continentale BarPanoramic Duo: David Paul and Nick Verreos, top of the Duomo Florence Italy Last weekend, my Nikolaki partner-in-crime, David Paul and I returned home to Los Angeles from our almost two week work-and-some-R-&-R trip to Europe. We first went to Florence, where I was invited by Miami University of Ohio to give my Lecture to the European Summer Program students, along with Project Runway Season 6 Finalist Althea Harper. You can read my recap of that HERE, in case you missed it. Tourist Chic: Nick Verreos in Florence Italy So since we were in Florence, after the lecture we decided to hang out an extra day and night and well, take in some of the sights and sounds (and tastes) of the city--as well as even climb the almost 500 steps to the famed Duomo/Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiori. Entrance to Hotel Lungarno, Florence Italy We decided to "treat ourselves" for our one extra night in Florence and stay at a very nice hotel, the Hotel Lungarno, located right on the Arno River. Even though we paid a "nice Euro" for a supposed "Deluxe Room" with a view, we were surprised A) to find the air-conditioning to be less than the standards for a 4-star hotel (could not go below 20 Celsius/about 70 degrees Fahrenheit) and B) our supposed view (which was the only reason we booked the hotel) was...Less than fabulous (see above photo). Time to rate Hotel Lugarno a "Not-so-much" on my next Trip Advisor review. I guess we should have complained and maybe they might have upgraded us but we just weren't in the mood. Well, at least, we were right next to the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio (above photo). So, what does "Uncle Nicky" do: He goes shopping! David, as well as myself, decided to get out of our not-so-cute 4-star hotel room and go shopping. The weather was very HOT and HUMID so we just wanted to be INSIDE a place that had proper air-conditioning, preferably anything below 20 Celsius thank you!After a nice lunch, we wanted to go to the Duomo and maybe consider going up to the top. Duomo Interior: Vesari's fresco, completed by Federico Zuccaro Last year, when we came to Florence, we didn't do the Duomo, so this was our chance. We walked around the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiori and found the line to go up not so bad so we paid 8 Euro each and ventured up the 463 steps. Yes, you read right, 463 steps! It took about 45 minutes to get up there--including the in-between "breaks". But we finally made it, breathless and heaving. But we made it: Better Lungs Than Me: David Paul poses with a panoramic view of Florence in the back, top of the Duomo Take the Photo, I'm NOT Sweating: Nick Verreos, top of the Duomo, Florence Italy The view was spectacular, I must say, and we were happy that up there, the weather was much milder. We spent about 20 minutes at the top --enough time to regain our normal heart rate and take some photos. then , it was back down 463 steps! Apres Duomo Happy Hour: Nick Verreos enjoys a cocktail at the Continentale Bar and Sky Lounge, Florence Italy To finish our extra day/night in Firenze, I took David to my new favorite bar, the Hotel Continentale Bar and Sky Lounge (I had gone there two nights before with Althea Harper). they are part of the same chain as the Hotel Lungarno that we were staying at and now we realize that we should have stayed there! Note to self: We will the next time we return! Next up: Amafi Coast R&R Heaven in Positano...Stay Tuned. Below is a video BEFORE we began our climb to the top of the Duomo: