We spent a gorgeous week in Florence this Easter. I hadn't been to Italy for over twenty years and expected a new atmosphere, a more modern feel perhaps, but found that it has hardly changed -  good and bad in equal measure I guess. The Renaissance art and architecture is a permanent feature of course, and always has been magnificent. The Uffizi in particular, took my breath away. We were delighted too with the courtesies of ordinary folk in shops and restaurants. Not so convinced of the predilection for bling, frothy pastels and leather though.  And then there's the number of visitors, wow, we were glad to escape to Lucca which is also beautiful and relatively empty. We researched our dining options carefully and sampled lots of authentic Tuscan dishes like the tortillini with pear and pecorino at L'Osteria di Giovanni and the dining experience at the Teatro del Sale which was the closest one might get to proper cucina familiale. Indulge in some photos to bring this lovely place to life:
The Duomo minutes from our hotel
The Italians are master bricked workers 

a stone restorer's workshop 
lovely balcony in Lucca
statuary including the replica of David - the original is in the Academia
not my David
the Italians love their dogs too 

just about how I felt about our visit

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