Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Day in Firenze

Waking up in Tuscany was fantastic. We are on top of  hill that overlooks the Tuscan landscape and a short distance away we can see Radda in Chianti. It is peaceful and quiet here and very relaxing. It is a bit overcast this morning but not too bad and I am looking forward to our trip to Florence today. Thomas and I were up around 6:30am and at breakfast for 7:10am. We had the usual – eggs, bacon, pasteries, yogurt, pineapple juice and coffee. Once we had eaten we returned to the room to get our things. By 7:55am we were all on the bus and on the way to Florence.

View from the Hotel
It wasn’t a long drive but as we entered Florence we encountered a little traffic. But our driver Mimo knows his way around the area and he took some side roads and got us to the parking area in no time. From the bus we walked a short distance to the Church of Santa Croce to meet up with our tour guide. Our tour guide for Florence today was Luca. He introduced himself and began our tour with a little history of Florence and the area we were standing in. He also talked about Santa Croce and told us of the many famous people buried in the church. We then took a walk around the city and got more history. Our next stop was at the Duomo. We didn’t go in the church at this time but we did get quite a lot of information from Luca about it. We then did a little more walking and eventually arrived in Piazza della Signoria.
This is the square where Michelangelo’s David was originally placed. We got some more history here and then our tour with Luca came to an end.

Ponte Vecchio
Thomas and I walked just a short distance from the square to find a place to eat. We ate at Ristorante Pizzeria Il Bargello. I had penne Florentine (penne with meat sauce and peas) and Thomas had spaghetti with meat sauce. We also had a half bottle of wine. After eating we walked outside and took a little break to get organized. I needed to get a letterbox planted and we had a reservation for the Uffizi Gallery at 2:30pm. I wanted to hide my box near the Galleriadell’Accademia where the original David is now. So we walked over to that area and planted the box. You can read about that at Hiding David on my other blog – The Lion’s Game. Then we walked over to the Duomo and did a quick walk through. A very beautiful church. After visiting the church we headed toward Piazza della Signoria and more specifically to the Uffizi Gallery. But when we arrived at the piazza we still had about 25 minutes to wait. So we ended up heading over to PonteVecchio and took some pictures there. Now it was time for the gallery. We met the group and Christopher in front and then we got in line to go through the security check. After that we were on our own until we needed to meet at the bus at 5:30pm.

So we walked through the Uffizi and enjoyed all the statues and paintings. Highlights being Michelangelo’s painting Holy Family (Doni Tondo), The Birth of Venus by Botticelli and some of Carravagio’s paintings. After about an hour and a half in the gallery we decided to head out. Now we had only covered the second floor which was huge and we had decided to leave the gallery. Little did we know that we had to maneuver our way through countless rooms to get to the exit. So that took us another 30 minutes or so. There were some interesting things along the way – like the naked Christ on the cross. I have seen many crosses in my day but never one with a naked Christ. They usually have a loin cloth on him. I actually thought this gave him much more vulnerability and was tastefully done.

When we had exited the building we read our map and headed toward Santa Croce. Once we arrived at the square we headed to the church. We got our tickets and went inside. We walked around for about a half hour looking at all the tombs. Most of them were so elaborate and beautiful. It was time to make our way back to the bus – so we walked the back streets until we arrived at the road we needed and then met up with some of the group. We waited for a little while until Mimo showed up with the bus. Before leaving Florence we drove up to Piazza Michelangelo which overlooks the city. We had a few minutes here to take pictures and enjoy the view. As we left Florence the traffic was bad so it took a little bit of time to get out of the city. So the drive back to the hotel took a little longer than expected. Christopher called ahead and pushed our dinner back to 7:45pm. This gave us about 45 minutes to clean up and relax for dinner.

Tonight’s dinner was at the hotel and consisted of wine (of course), penne with tomato and olive oil, meat and for dessert we had fruit soaked in wine with homemade vanilla and chocolate ice cream. By the time dinner was finished I was so tired. We have been having long, busy days and by 9:00pm (which is around the time we usually finish dinner) we are so tired. Tomorrow we visit Siena and the day starts around 7:00am.

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