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Day 22: Montelupo to Florence … A Triumphant Return

Early morning serious grade workout. Coffee hasn't even kicked in!
Early morning serious grade workout in Montelupo Fiorentina. Caffeine hasn’t even kicked in!

 

Train or rain? Of course, we chose rain for our final ride back to Florence. It was our last day of riding after all, a short 16-mile ride. Plus, with a little luck, we might beat the forecasted storms.

Getting out of Montelupo Fiorentina proved as tricky as getting into it. Out the gate, we hit a steep hill. The 17% grade scrambled our legs and the following 19% grade had us hoofing it up the hill.

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The route, SP 73, wound its way through small towns and was a beautiful ride until the clouds darkened and the rain began … lightly at first and by the time we hit the edge of Florence, the rain became insistent.

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Skies began to darken on the scenic two-lane road to Florence.

We weren’t the only cyclists on the road, though. Being Sunday, there were handfuls of riders out for the day, rain or shine.

Soaking wet, we took refuge in a small bar in Florence, drinking cappuccinos and eating Pane del Pescatore (bread of the fisherman), a slightly sweet mound filled with raisins and almonds, spiced with fennel and orange zest. It tastes like soft-baked biscotti with just the right level of sweetness.

Pane del Pescatore is a slightly sweet mound of almonds, raisins and spiced with fennel and orange zest.
Pane del Pescatore is a slightly sweet mound of almonds, raisins, It’s spiced with fennel and orange zest and tastes like soft-baked biscotti.

 

When the rain lulled, we biked closer to our destination for the next two nights and tucked in for a lunch at a nearby trattoria. We lucked out and found a local’s favorite in Trattoria Cesarina. The food was so good and the service friendly that we went there the next night for our final evening in Florence. We weren’t disappointed! Both times, the restaurant was lively and crowded with locals.

Radicchio flan, spaghetti with clams, salad with thinly sliced mushrooms and shaved parmesan, the inside of the radicchio flan
Radicchio flan; spaghetti with clams, simple salad with sliced mushrooms; the inside of the radicchio flan (ridiculously delicious!).
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