Firenze is a city that wants you to get the hell out. Just ask its palazzi. Just talk to its streets and listen to the statues. They are worn out; they have been raped, they have been beaten to a bloody pulp by French invaders, American cannibals, and Scandinavian loud mouths. So show a little compassion. Go to Lucca, it's ten times prettier. Or visit crowded Siena. The Florence you want to see died four hundred years ago. May it rest in peace!
Luckily, my pale girlfriend and I spend most of our time in Perugia and Assisi. I lived in this region in 1997 and 1999. I even survived the earth quake that shook the basilica and killed thirteen people. But everything in Assisi has been rebuild. It's still a must for pilgrims who want to visit the grave of the holy Francis - my all time favorite Saint, the Saint to end all Saints.
Perugia is another great love of mine. And I don't even care about chocolate - something this city is known for all over Italy. But God, Perugia is such a gem. Its streets have a medieval feel, Corso Vanucci is stylish without being ridiculous. The old town is full of surprising archways, murderous cliffs, and fantastic views of the hills and the countryside - it's a wonderful place without too many tourists. So luckily, God has blessed this city without a single must that art lovers have to see.
On our last night in Umbria, we had a drink in Corso Vanucci. It was hot, 84 degrees, the air was like silk against our skin. An ambulance drove up to a theater. A man was carried out on a stretcher. When the ambulance was gone, we discovered what film he had been watching. It was Michael Moore's Sicko.