Our day started with hunting for picnic supplies in the Mercato Centrale. After a few trips walking around each vendor’s stall, I just couldn’t bring myself to order food from a place with a sheep’s head in it. For all my moxie and well-traveled experience, I’m pretty squeamish when it comes to hunks of meat. Compared to Jeff, I’m practically a vegetarian.

Fortunately, the recently renovated upstairs of the market is a contemporary, gourmet food court. We saw plenty of both locals and tourists come for the quality, artisan-made food.  It had a great atmosphere and the whole place was decorated for Easter.

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We had panini and finished with cookies, biscotti, and drinking chocolate.

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This is not your ordinary hot chocolate. Think melted chocolate with a little milk added.

It was excellent.

Untitled-1_0018_Layer 2After lunch, we strolled through the rest of San Lorenzo Market. We were tempted by the leather bags and jackets, scoffed at the endless ways to make a joke and a profit from Michaelangelo’s David’s unmentionables, and finally caved into buying some scarfs.

I bought one for my sister, and Jeff got one for himself for the chilly Florentine nights and for our upcoming motorcycle trip.

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jeff-scarf

We continued to walk the neighborhood until we came to Piazza San Lorenzo.

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I noticed an artist at work and stopped to admire some of his watercolors and etchings. When I saw what he was working on, it really caught my attention.

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I found a watercolor of the Ponte Vecchio that I loved and it was such a good price, so I looked through his collection for one of the Duomo to match. We weren’t seeing any, so we asked if he had one.

“10 minutes,” was his reply.

We couldn’t believe how quickly he sketched and began to paint. All from memory.

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His quick, but steady hand made it look so easy.

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Even the way he packaged our prints was done with some artistic panache.

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He was smiley and friendly and it was such a pleasure to watch him create. If you go to Florence, do yourself a favor and buy a few custom paintings from Almas. You won’t be sorry.

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Today, our favorite souvenirs have a prominent place by our bedside in Athens.

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As the sky turned pink and golden, we walked a few blocks to see the Duomo again. And have gelato. Again.

Is there a more fitting way to end the day?

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Stay tuned for our next update: Florence, Day No. 3

To see more photos:

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