Got up this morning in the suite at the “residence” part of Hotel Ilaria and made instant coffee in the room. Then walked over to the hotel and on the 1st floor (which is what we call 2nd floor in the US) and had a lovely breakfast on a glassed in patio up at the front of the property. Very light and airy. Good food and attentive service. Went for a bit of a walk but it started raining so we bailed back to the room and packed for our 12:30 train to Florence. Had the desk call us a cab and got to the train station in about 4 minutes. Simple walk down the ramp and then up the elevator to the platform for the regional train to Firenze. 1:20 trip with a number of stops. Larger cities on the way. Lots of kids getting on and off. Train was pretty full by the stop before Firenze. Had to move our bags to allow someone to sit. As it was the termination of the train, we waited until everyone got off and then got our luggage down on the platform. No steps at Firenze Santa Maria Novella station. Got out front and cabbed it to Il Guelfo hotel which is on Vie Dei Martelli. That is the main street that runs in front of the the Duomo. Lots of traffic and people. The apartment is huge with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, living room with dining table for 8. Washer in one bathroom, which is why we rented it. Did some laundry and then took a walk up the street. Went into Eataly and looked at the Duomo. Came back and got into some more laundry stuff. Front desk recommended a restaurant nearby for dinner. Ristorante Le Fonticine. About 7 minute walk, 500 meters. Has >400 reviews on Tripadvisor so we had him reserve a 7pm table for 2. Walked about ½ km to the restaurant. Beautiful location. Had a wonderful dinner. Soups for both, Rigatoni Bolegnese for me and Salad Medici for Nan. She also ordered a pasta pomodoro and we finished with a chocolate pie with shaved dark chocolate on top. Walked back and just got in when the rain started pretty hard.
Great breakfast again at Hotel Margherita. Nan went off for shopping but nothing was open. Checked out and got a cab around 10:30 to catch the 11:05 train to Viareggio to connect to Lucca. Got there just in time but had to hustle the 2 suitcases, 2 carry-ons and our purse/backpacks down the stairs and over to the other track. Got up the stairs just in time to step on the Lucca train just before it left. Nan was barely able to carry the carry ons. Hard for her to manage. Stood at the door with the luggage til we got to Lucca. Cab to the Hotel Iloria, inside the walled part of the city of Lucca. Very nice. Stylish courtyard leading into a well appointed lobby. Checked us in and informed us that there were free bicycles available and that there was a .6km ride along the city walls. Turns out the “suite” was in the residence building across the street and down the block. Porter took the bags and led us to a wonderful room with 2 baths, bedroom loft. Comfortable layout, free snacks and sodas in the min-bar. Jacuzzi tub in the downstairs bath. We dropped the bags and went out and got a couple bikes and did a circuit around the city walls. Started around again and decided to go in to the botanical gardens. Bailed when it started rainging. Went to a walk after it stopped about halfway into the city center. At the hotels suggestion, made a dinner reservation at Buca di Santa Maria for 7;30p. Dinner was fabulous. Quaint restaurant with candles on every table and around the place. Very attentive service. Our waiter spoke very good English with a UK accent. He is married to an English girl. Started with Asparagus soup (Nan) and artichoke pie for me. Then split a square spaghetti pasta with tomatoes, Olive Oil and Basil. Finished with Cod Stew (for her) and Wild Boar for me. Both with polenta. Desert was a pear torte with warm chocolate. Then a lovely walk back to the hotel.