IKEA in Florence

I thought I should write something tonight because tomorrow I start my course at Il Bisonte art school and I will probably not write anything for a week or two as I will be too overwhelmed.
Guy and I decided that we wanted to get a few things for the apartment to make it a bit more like home,  so what else can one do but GO TO IKEA!!!  I really wanted a toaster so that we could have toast with our breakfast - there are only so many croissants one can eat.
On Saturday morning we got up early (yeah right..we are retired) and looked up on the internet how to get there (a number 30 bus right outside SMN railway station). It's about a 15 minute walk to the railway station from our apartment.
First we bought bus tickets at the tabbachi; "venti biglietti per l'autobus" - the man looked at me like I was crazy; "VENTI??? (20)", so I rephrased it, "Dieci (10)". Each ticket costs 1.20 euro and lasts for 90 minutes after validation on the bus, there are big fines if you get caught without a ticket or without validating your ticket. If you buy the ticket on the bus it is 2 euros. The rules of the bus are that you get on front or back and exit from the middle.
Then off we went to the station and found the ATF office and waited in the queue to get a bus timetable - we spend a lot of time in queues here (supermarket, post office, tabbachi..)
First of all we had to remember to pronounce it properly; EEKEEA, I said IKEA a few times and just got a blank look ( remember those Italian vowels).
We got given a large map with all the bus routes on it, it will come in really handy, I wish I'd got two! The man at the counter told us where to get the number 30 bus and off we went - well, we walked about 3 kms because the nice man mixed up his left and right and we walked all over the place, finally finding the right stop for the number 30 bus and then waiting for the bus.
Eventually we got to IKEA- it's a fair way out of town and in a mainly Chinese area, lots of Chinese people, factories and Chinese restaurants around. The IKEA wasn't very big, we got a few things - the best buy was a set of shelves so we have somewhere to put the food we buy.
I think the guys who own this place must eat out a lot, because there is very little free cupboard space in the kitchen.
And guess what - no toasters anywhere to be bought. I don't think Italians eat toast!
When we got home Guy started building the shelves - those of you who know Guy will not be surprised.

We then rearranged the whole kitchen again and now it is really well organised!

So that was Saturday.

On Sunday we got up early to go to the fruit and veggie market in Piazza Santo Spirito which is also just down the road, but it turned out to be a flea market with lots of second hand fur coats (pretty sure they were real fur) and old watches and antiques and glassware and books and soap and honey and plants and more... we bought some honey but nothing else. Where would we put more antiques?

When we got home, Guy decided to clean the oven. Now I know all my female friends out there will be so jealous (especially my mum) that I have a man who cleans the oven. It is now spotless.

While Guy was doing that, I laboriously filled out our Permesso di Soggiorno (permission to stay) forms. We will take them to the post office tomorrow afternoon and wait in another queue!
Still looking for the toaster (tostapane), we decided to head into the city centre and see if they had one at la Rinascente which is a biggish department store. It was a bit like going into Myer in Melbourne - straight through the women's cosmetics area fighting your way through clouds of perfume to look for the escalators.
Guess what! they had toasters! An Alessi at 220 euros, and a Kitchenmaid at 200 euros.
We both nearly had heart attacks. I would expect a toaster to make breakfast, clean up the kitchen and then perhaps start preparing dinner for that sort of money.
Anyway, Guy chatted up a shop assistant called Luigi who found us a toaster for a mere 79 euros. He said he had one at home and it made him happy in the morning. I can't believe we paid that much for a toaster!!

So tonight we are back in our apartment wondering what tomorrow will bring, I will write something next weekend about Il Bisonte. Guy is going to sign up for a few weeks Italian Language classes and he will probably start next Monday.


  1. Good luck with both of your classes. I'm sure the full emersion will work well for Guy. The italians eat bruschetta so maybe that's why the oven was so dirty and toasters are so expensive - supply and demand! Tip - use the internet to check your travel plans; bus routes, prices, etc. is very helpful. I've already checked the bus route from the airport to the station to your place. We know all about the validation of tickets in Italy - really upset one train inspector in Milan! Have fun and take the toaster back to Oz with you - it's gorgeous and would make me happy too!

  2. Hi Lyn and Guy, I was wondering why you had been so slack in blogging and now I realise I just wasn't getting any notifications - hopefully I'll be able to sort that out in a minute. Anyway, now I'm up to date with your latest adventures. I'm with your friend who says bring the toaster back home - it's fabulous! Hopefully everything you two are experiencing is fabulous too. Even queues! We are doing the usual at home by way of gardening, building and entertaining summer visitors. Expect to head off for Tassie in Brio later this month for a little tour around it. Glad to hear and see all about your impressions. Keep them coming!

  3. So good to get the updates Lyn and Guy. The apartment looks fantastic.... and my bed looks pretty comfortable in the guest room!! Oh, the joys of a toaster; how amazing that they are so exxie even if they are pieces of art, but can't do without the toast for brekkie.
    All well in RC; we've had some rain and your house is still standing! Good luck for the classes. I' look forward to the next exciting installment. x Jennie

  4. Firstly, that toaster is funky. In a good way. Secondly, your post made me laugh as I had my phone read it to me whilst walking to my meeting. A robotic voice lamenting about toaster issues made my day. Liam x

  5. Mercato centrale near cattedrale di santa maria del fiore, and not far from the station, for all your fresh food and wine. It closes at 2pm. It's excellent. I stayed in an apartment opposite and was there every morning for breakfast. Your place looks lovely and I'm impressed that you've wasted no time getting Italian lessons Guy.

  6. mercato centrale for your food and wine. It is excellent but closes at 2pm. I stayed in an apartment opposite and was there for breakfast every morning. Via dell'ariento near cattedrale di santa maria del fiore.

  7. Have you found mercato centrale? Near the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore. It is a must but closes at 2pm daily. Your apartment looks great.