A nice day today in Florence -- a late start, a delicious lunch, and a walk up to the Piazzale Michelangelo (a beauitful vista overlooking the city) and to the Benedictine church, San Miniato Dal Monte.
We arrived in time for vespers at San Miniato, and listed and watched as the Benedictine monks sang spooky, moving songs in Latin. Afterwards, we headed back down to town on a path that took us through a grove of cypress trees and stately villas. It was crazy to pass these villas, each of which had huge swaths of land connected (replete with olive groves and other trees), all this just outside of the city. One minute after passing olive groves, we were passing bars and restaurants.
My coworker, John, and I went out to enjoy what seems to be a particularly Florentine custom -- the hour of the "aperetivo". Tons of local bars sell cocktails and wine and offer free food (pastas and salads and finger sandwiches and the like) to all that partake in their beverages.
And now, I am back at the hotel, kicking back and enjoying some free WiFi and a bit of relaxation. I'm including a few pictures from today as well as a video of a bit of the vespers. 'Tis a bit shaky and I began recording in my bag so as not to interrupt the singing with my camera's beeping -- but the sound is great and you get a bit of an idea of what the experience was like.
*update: the video will not upload right now. I'll get it up soon.