Ponte Vecchio and Arno

Ponte Vecchio

One evening, while driving up the hill to Montepulciano, our rental car lost power and slowed to about 10 mph — dangerous on a windy road at dusk. We pulled off the road and turned off the engine.  After a few minutes, we started the car and were able to drive a little before the car lost power again.  We slowly drove to a gas station, where we called Hertz, our car rental company.

Hertz sent someone to look at the car.  The guy drives uphill with power at first; then the car loses power.  He agrees the car is bad, drives to his shop to change cars, and drives us to our apartment.  Hertz tells us we have to go to Florence airport to pick up another car.  They’ll reimburse us for a car to take us to Florence.

Our landlord connected us with a wonderful driver who drove us to Florence the next day and entertained us with stories about Montepulciano, including the olive oil press.

We phoned the Uffizi Gallery for 1:00 ticket reservations, to skip the long line to purchase tickets.  Well worth the 4 euro surcharge.  After picking up a car at the airport, we drove into Florence and parked under the train station.

We saw the Duomo and Uffizi.  Besides having great art, the Uffizi is on the Arno River, close to the Ponte Vecchio.  As you walk from one wing to the next, there’s a wonderful spot to see the Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte Vecchio and Arno
Ponte Vecchio and Arno

We felt fortunate to have a cell phone when our car broke down.  We called Hertz twice from the gas station, with the longest call lasting a half hour.  We were concerned we’d run out of time on our Italian SIM card during the call, but it turned out that we had lots of time left after two weeks.  Calls in Italy must be very reasonable.  The map app and and the generous data plan helped as we wandered around.  We’ll continue getting local SIM cards.


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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