Subject: Florence Dining
Hello Ziners from Florida,

My wife, Anne, and I visited Italy last year, arriving in Rome 2 days before September 11. An surreal feeling to be away from home during that period. But we were treated by all Italians with sympathy and warm hearts.

We bicycled across mid-Italy from the tiny village of Fano to Porte Ecole over a period of 11 days, 355 miles. A milestone in our lives, so far.

I planned only two days in Florence, which proved way too short. What a wonderful city for art, history and life. We stayed at the Hotel Hermitage, right next to the Ponte Vecchio. I strongly recommend the Hermitage. The rooftop breakfast area is beautiful. We ate a great meal at Baldovino's near the Santa Croce piazza. Lots of locals with friendly service and very good food. Had a good vegetable pizza. Excellent wine selection.

The second night we splurged and had a very romantic dinner at Omero's on the outskirts of town up in the hills. 15 minute taxi ride. The restaurant is located next to Galileo's home. Beautiful view of Florence at night. Best proscuitto of trip, artichoke/chicken liver crostinis. I had steak florentine and Anne had roasted pigeon. Very personal service. We were the only Americans in the restaurant and were treated like royalty.

Jim B.