by Felicia Kamriani

With only six hours to enjoy Florence, I intended to make a plan. Helpful travel guides recommended reserving Uffizi tickets ahead of time, so naturally I took heed and booked them online. Despite completing the form, entering my credit card information and viewing the ticket confirmation page, I never actually received a confirmation email…

I forgot about it until we arrived at our scheduled Uffizi time and they had no record of our booking. I had no confirmation number to give them and they could not look up my reservation by name. As we were leaving, I heard another travel guide making same day reservations with her cell phone for a couple of hopeful travelers. So, while I had good intentions to book ahead of time, they were ultimately ineffective. Meanwhile, last minute same-day reservations proved to be successful. Mostly, I do feel it is a good idea to plan ahead, yet this experience reminded me that sometimes its better to just “see what happens.”

We weren’t disappointed about not seeing the gallery, because after all we were in Florence!! We wandered the streets, enjoying the architecture and flair of the city. We stumbled into Il Papiro, a quaint, old fashioned stationery house. Magnificent! Owners, Gianni and Francesco, were lively and welcoming and demonstrated the centuries old paper marbling technique. Both the process and the men were intriguing They were friendly and playful, yet expert at what they do. We easily spent two hours exploring all of the papers, designs and embellishments. One owner whisked off on his bike to another location to get a journal I wanted, while the other ducked across the street and brought us back cappuccinos and cookies. A precious Italian experience brought about because of an online booking goof.

After Il Papiro, our wanderings brought us to the beautiful and timeless ristorante Gilli. The 1733 decor at Piazza della Repubblica was a marvel indeed. Exquisite, rich and granita-decadent. Friendly waiters eagerly chatted and posed for pictures – yes, we were tourists after all! Florence would not have been complete without a sampling of the famous Italian gelato. Indeed, Gilli did not disappoint!

Our feet meandered towards the world famous Ponte Veccio- steeped in historical significance and displaying distinctive old world charm. Monks weaved through camera-clad tourists on their way to the other side. Around the front, we discovered another hidden treasure: Arti & Mestieri. A tiny store with a dungeonesque feel displaying an array of leather bound journals, tarot cards and embossed notes. The young and pretty artist continued creating as we perused. Impossible to decide, I chose many handmade goodies to remind me of the experience that was so accidentally pleasurable.

Il Papiro
Via Cavour, 50129

Via Roma 1/R, 50123

Arti & Mestieri
Piazza Di S. Maria Sopr’arno, 1
Telefono: 055 2343670