For some reason we had decided that it would be a good idea to visit Florence today on a hot July Saturday, no other tourist was going to think the same now were they?!

We got to the station in Montecatini Terme about 10 minutes before the train was due to leave giving us plenty of time to purchase a ticket. Unfortunately, this being a Saturday during the height of the tourist season, the ticket office was closed and there were no automatic machines or any indication of where to buy a ticket. Fortunately there was a kindly local who spoke English and directed us to a newsagent just up the road where a surly Italian and his surlier daughter served us. We dashed back to the station with, as it turned out, plenty of time to catch our train. An hour later we were in Florence with just one or two others.

Florence, like Rome, is one of those cities where there is something to see and do around every corner. The colours on the architecture, whites, greens and reds, are just great after the usual sandstones and, above head height, you could believe you were the only one there. After a few hours plodding around looking at the sights we found a side street that looked like it might take us higher and give us a view over the city. Around every corner we told ourselves would be an end to the houses and a clear view, but it was not to be and we found ourselves walking back down to a bar for lunch where we regrouped and consulted the guide books. We had, more by luck than judgement, found ourselves sitting in a bar at the bottom of a climb to the Piazza Michelangelo which offered the height and the views we had been looking for. It also had a bus stop with a bus to take us back down to the station, 2 euros well spent.

We spent the evening on the hotel terrace watching the sun go down over Montecatini Alto.

More pictures from Florence here.