How the Italians do markets

My market odyssey continues during various trips throughout Italy.

The magical city of Florence has a wealth of impressive markets including the Central Market. Butchers, fishmongers and delis are on the main floor, while fruit and vegetable sellers are on the top floor,


Colourful soaps in every colour and perfume beguile the grimy travellers while pasta comes in every shape and size.


These stacks of crates are bursting at the seams with a tasty looking selection of fruit, veg and herbs.


Strings of garlic adorn this rustic stall while herbs, goose grease and salad leaves offer us a ideal photo opp.


Sieves, baskets and booze jostle for position on this compact and crowded little stall.


Are you bored of piles of food yet? Tough! There’s SOOOOO many markety photos yet to show you  . . .  ho ho ho


Day of DOOM

So after the delights of Florence we headed back to Pisa for a final night, packed our bags, used up the last of the clean undies and shampoo and packed our bags for the 2pm flight back to Liverpool.

Or so we thought.

Four hours before the flight was due to depart we receive a text message from Ryanair telling us they had sent an urgent EMAIL to us the night before. Email turns out to say out flight has been cancelled due to the Italians all being mardy gits and going on strike for 8 hours that day (or something like that)

1) Who the hell checks their emails on holiday
2) Anyone who did had a 12 hour head start on us in regards to actually standing a hope in hell of getting home

So we have to go to the airport (on foot as the buses were on strike too) to stand in a queue at the cancelled flight desk for a very helpful women to tell us “Your flight is cancelled” – yes we know that, what the chuff do we do about it?

Turns out all we can do is go and queue for an hour and a half to get on the internet to get on Ryanairs website to rebook a flight, any flight as they were all fully booked .

There wasn’t a single rep to be seen, no one from Ryanair was in the airport, we had no help, no offers of phone calls, it was total chaos.

In the end we had to get a flight on the Saturday (fours days later than planned) to Leeds, we then had to get back to Liverpool where we originally flew from to pick up the car (4 extra nights car parking to pay for) and then finally head home to Derbyshire.

In total, including 4 extra nights accommodation, £10 internet and extra spending money, we have shelled out an extra £500 roughly, and will not get anything back.

 Lloyds TSB insurance offers £20 per person per day upto max £100, minus £40 excess = grand total of £60!!! What a bloody joke – it’s legalised robbery, they should be ashamed.

Ryanair either offers a refund on your flight or a free flight back to your original destination airport. As they only fly to Liverpool a few times from Pisa, and the next flight was predictably full, that would have meant us staying an extra week – costing even more.

So we had to opt for a refund, this of course is less than the cost of the new flight we had to book to get us home, so they actually MADE money out of this cock up and we haven’t even received the refund yet!

Ryanair = scum.

Cheap airlines are fine when it all goes to plan, but the minute anything goes wrong you are literally on your own. And of course, a strike can be classed as exceptional circumstances, getting airlines off scot free from paying out a damn penny in compensation.

Rant over.

Cinque Terre and Florence

So after recovering from the epic trek from Vernazza to Monterosso (I may be exaggerating a trifle) we walked the Vie D’Amour (Sneakily after the ticket booth was closed) and checked out all the padlocks with peoples names on them to symbolise true, everlasting lurve . . .

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Other people, clearly with no padlocks, had simply entwined plastic in the shape of a heart, or fastened a hair band, brooch or other trifle to the cliffs.

We, romantics that we are, stuck a couple of mangy old bus tickets on the wire fence



Onwards, here’s Manarola, another cute little village clinging to the cliff . . . .

Then it’s off to the gorgeous Florence, full of mind blowing architecture.

Here is the Cathedral with its ornate facade  and the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo. The iconic dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearby Campanile was partly designed by Giotto.

The dome, 600 years after its completion, is still the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world. (Cheers Wikipedi!)

View from the campanile shows the epic Duomo and the terracotta tiled city sprawling into the distance.

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Above are more details of the ornate cathedral facade.

And here’s the Ponte Vecchio (the old bridge) lined with super expensive jewellery shops.

And finally some pics of my favourite topic- piles of colourful food!!!


Cinque Terre and Florence

Cinque Terre and Florence