Comes with a Mini Kitchen

FlorenceI’d always heard the north of Italy was different from the south. I didn’t appreciate that until the day I stepped off the train at the Florence station. So far Italy had been like Texas – all about the people, so I could forgive some of the grit and grime of the south with all its glory it could feel like Tijuana in places. I was ready for a place that was long on charm – like Paris and London.

Florence was just that place. This was noticeable the minute we stepped off the train at the Firenze station. I sensed a distinct refined, artistic feel about the place. Donna reminded me this was the birthplace of the Renaissance. Of course it was. Had I been in charge of the renaissance, I’d have started it at a place like this as well. The rays of sun on my face were a nice complement to the cool fresh air.

A mini van pulled up and a pretty, thirty-something woman rolled down the passenger window and called Donna’s name. Man, this place is friendly I thought before realizing she was our landlord. We piled into Lydia’s car heading to our new home for the next week.  We passed the Arno River with its magnificent bridges, elegant buildings and green hills in the distance.  She turned down a tree lined street of three-story baroque-era buildings, pulling up half way down the street, we had arrived.

Lydia explained the apartment had been recently remodeled. We dropped our packs on the grand room floor, which was covered with giant blue and white checkered tiles. Donna and Lydia sat down at the heavy wooden dining table and went over details. I opened a door with bottle-bottom glass paneling and found a room the size of a half-bathroom. When I stepped inside I bumped into something large and metallic. Lydia flipped a switch to reveal the smallest kitchen I’d ever seen in my life. The sink was the size of a youth football. There were no counters, rather a cutting board sat atop the two-burner range. The hanging shelf case was stocked with knives, cooking gadgets, and bowls, and basic herbs. It was a one-man kitchen for sure, which appealed to me.

The adjacent room had all the beds, a corner desk, and the TV, which the kids wasted no time firing up. Like every place else in Europe, Florence had MTV. Lydia gave us her cell phone number and left us alone. Even though I was tired from traveling, I could not wait to see more of this city and find a market.

NEXT: Street of Dreams

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