Florence Sept 26,27, 28,
29, 30 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Sept 26 Monday - Left Venice at 9:27am for a two hour ride
to Florence. An uneventful ride except for the scenery and long
tunnels. We saw some hill top towns and castles.
Parts of Florence are off limits to traffic. It looked like a
longer hike to our hotel then I wanted to make while pulling a
suitcase so we took a taxi. For E10 we were placed at our
Pitti Palace" at the foot of the Ponte Vecchio. A very nice room with a view
of the foot of the bridge right outside our window! This hotel is very nice
and well located. Everything is within walking distance.
We had lunch in a little place near the
hotel. We then hiked over to the Santo
Spirito church for a view of the
Michelangelo crucifix he had done when he was 17. We also scoped
out the area. We then went up to the Pitti
Palace and took a look
at that. I had a rip-off gelato near
As we walked back past our hotel, across the Ponte Vecchio toward the Duomo
we discovered a bust of Cellini. We'd
recently read his autobiography. These are backside views of the bridge.
The Ponte Vecchio has many gold shops on it. As
we walked we discovered the Piazza Signoria. This is the famous
square with the famous Town Hall or Palazzo della Signoria a Florentine
landmark. Michelangelo's David stood
here, now a replica. There are several
famous statues. It's just amazing. Every
time we passed through here we couldn't resist taking pictures.
There seemed to be some construction or reconstruction going on.
As we hiked we found
Dante's house. We made it to the Duomo and saw the Campanile
and Baptistry. We will visit them
Back to our room through the Piazza Signoria for a
nap. We went up to the sixth floor for happy
hour. Later we went out to dinner at Borgo Antico on Santo Spirito
Square. Very nice sitting outside.
On the way back to our hotel I had a gelato then to bed.
Sept 27 Tuesday - Breakfast at our hotel was OK. They
have a nice sixth floor dining area with an outside patio. We
did many things today.
First to the Uffizi. We had bought
memberships in the Uffizi
so they welcomed us in. We were taken to an office and told
about our membership. Mainly it gets us into most museums in
Florence free plus skip the line. We enjoyed the art, though it
was pretty crowded with tour groups. There is a lot to see here.
A very rich museum.
We went back to our room for a break then to lunch.
Here's a view of the Ponte Vecchio.
We walked to the Duomo, of course past the Piazza Signoria,
but it was too busy to get in so we went to the Academia and saw
the David up close again. I have the illegal picture
to show I was there. The guard was sitting about five feet away
We then went to the Medici Chapel for
more Michelangelo. Beware! you must go
around to the back to get into the chapel you are looking for.
We took a couple illegal pictures. The WC
is a bit difficult to find.
We then started looking for the Bargello
museum. We found it but it was closed today at this time. We had
a beer at an nice little tourist spot.
On our way back to the room we passed through Piazza
Signoria again. Can't get enough of that. Rob
took pictures for a Japanese couple. We had lunch at the little
place near our hotel.
At our room Deb went up to check out the sixth floor happy hour
starting at 4:30. I went to the lobby to use the wi-fi.
After some rest and a bit of happy hour
we went to dinner at 4Leoni. A very
popular place recommended by RS. Deb had a pasta
stuffed with pear, I had the 4Leoni special - four tastes. Very
nice. When we returned we had a glass of
Lemonocello up on the sixth floor. Then
Sept 28 Wednesday - Breakfast then off
to the Bargello. Donatello's David is here - the first nude male
sculpted in a thousand years. It contains works by Michelangelo
and many Medici treasures. A big time museum.
We had lunch at a fancy tourist place directly behind the Duomo. We sat in the Duomo shadow and
watched construction going on as well as looking at the
beautiful Duomo. We shared a pizza.
Pizza in Italy is a little strange. It's
basically a crunchy thin crust with a little sauce and cheese.
If you order mushrooms and olives the mushrooms are in one pile
and the olives are someplace else in another pile. It makes it
difficult to share all the ingredients.
Back to our hotel for a break.
We went over to Santa Croce Church. It
was much more impressive then I had remembered. Certainly the
most important church in Florence. Galileo, Michelangelo
and Dante are buried here as well as
Tesla and Marconi. There are famous frescos
and paintings. Attached to it is a very
impressive monastery and museum. A piece
of St. Francis' tunic is in a frame. There is also a
Brunelleschi chapel here. Quite
As we walked back we cut through City Hall. Surprisingly
interesting. I guess the entry was to impress people entering. Then another picture
taking session through Piazza Signoria on our way home.
Another happy hour then later out to
dinner at Borgo Antico. We had a bit of a
wait. The manager gave us wine to pass
the time. This time we ordered the "Frutti di Mere" plate. A gigantic pile of mostly mussels with
calamari and langastinos. We couldn't finish
it all. We also shared an asparagus and cheese risotto. Another great meal then back to the hotel for a happy hour and to bed.
Sept 29 Thursday - Breakfast. Today we are off to the Duomo
museum. This is where Donatello's Wooden Mary Magdalene
is on display. It is surprisingly modern considering it was done in 1455 or
so. Also a Michelangelo Pieta or The
Deposition of Christ done in the 1540's. A very impressive
museum. We were really looking forward to seeing the Baptistery
door panels by Ghiberti but they were not on display! Several
art classes were drawing here.
Now on to the Duomo, the first major dome built since the
pantheon in Rome fifteen hundred years previous. We bought a
ticket to the "Terraces of the Cathedral and Dome"
tour which gets you in past the rather daunting line. The interior of the Duomo was anticlimactic
after seeing the exterior is so fancy. We had a guided tour up to the terrace
level. Here are some interior
shots. After that we were allowed to climb
the stairs to the top of the dome. Quite a climb. The views were worth every step.
As you climbed you could get a glimpse of the dome within a dome
that Brunelleschi built.
We stopped by the "Gem Museum". Mostly an excellent collection
of inlaid stone items, mostly tables. They also had the tools
they used back in the fourteen and fifteenth centuries to make
As we then hiked back to out hotel for lunch
and a break we passed through the market
at Piazza della Repubblica. We then went
over to the Pitti Palace and took the tour of the Boboli Gardens.
Sort of boring with a lot of hot uphill walking. We
may have missed something. These pictures
look surprisingly good. On the way back
down we ran across an interesting grotto.
The grotto looked like it would be fun
on a cool night with a fire. There are some interesting modern
sculptures around the Palace grounds.
Back to our room for a break. Then back
to 4Leoni for dinner This time we sat
inside. We were unfashionably early, as usual. We were sitting
all alone for quite a while. A Korean couple
sat down beside us and he ordered the t-bone steak. It was a
kilo - 2.2 pounds and nearly raw. He ate the whole thing. Deb
had the pear pasta, I had a pork shank. Quite good.
Back to our hotel and a wine before bed. We met
Terry and Roger from South England. She was quite the historian.
Sept 30 Friday - Breakfast. Terry and
Roger had taken the tour of the passage between the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace that goes over
the Ponte Vecchio so we decided to give it a try. We zipped over to the
Uffizi and asked. Nope not this time. So we looked
at few pieces of art again, including the Botticelli's before we left for Rome.
We used another taxi to get to the station only this time it was
more expensive because we didn't hail it we phoned for it. We
had the hotel desk call.
So on the train at 11:10 for our one and a half hour
ride to Rome.
- Here are some pictures of David in
- We missed some important stuff. We need to go back and stay
longer. We need to rent a car and go see some nearby things.