Florence, Italy

Tuesday 19th June 2018

So after our blog post yesterday, we found some reserve strength and went out exploring again. Phil was keen to walk to the top of the hill overlooking Florence (which Simone had recommended doing at sunset as you could get great photos). This place was the Piazzle Michalengelo. I wasn’t so sure, but wanted to take photos of the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio. Once we were there, it wasn’t much further. The guy at the front desk at our hotel, Luca, had recommended we get the bus or a taxi, but we decided to walk. It was a great walk until we had to climb up the hill and ALL of the stairs. It was on the top of a hill, after all.

We got there and after having a beer for Phil and a lemon slushy for Bel (and the subsequent brain freeze) we tried to find a space where we could see the view. It was stupendous.

We stayed there until the sunset behind the mountains. It really was special. There was a musician playing some music (which is not uncommon here in Florence). It made for a wonderful atmosphere. It was really so beautiful and makes you appreciate nature and the wonderful world that we live in.

After the sun had set, I was keen to get down to the river to take photos of the different coloured sky reflected in the water. It was MUCH easier going down all of those stairs!

We got to the bridge upriver of the Ponte Vecchio – Ponte Alle Grazie so that we had a view of the Ponte Vecchio. Phil and I differ in our opinions of sunset photos. He likes them lighter, where I like the different colours in the sky – so I tend to take them a little darker.

We were shattered and headed back past the Duomo to get a photo at night:

We made it home and were too tired to look for somewhere to have dinner. The cafe next to our hotel had closed (it was 10pm) and we just couldn’t walk any more. According to Phil’s iPhone we had walked 16.3 kilometres and 14 floors of stairs today!

Tuesday 19th June

Today we went on a walking tour with Walks of Italy. We were keen (read that as Bel was keen) to see Michelangelo’s David and the Uffizi Museum. This tour combined both, but was a whole day tour. We met our tour guide and fellow participants at 8:15am in a square about 15 minutes walk away. We got there and met our tour guide Ishmail. Our first stop was the Galleria Dell’Accademia – where Michelangelo’s David is housed. In all honesty, I had no idea of the sheer size and detail that is included in this amazing sculpture. Our very informative tour guide told us that David is sculpted from one piece of marble, out of a piece of marble that a statue of David had already been started. The defined muscles, the detail in the eyes and the slingshot that would be used to kill Goliath, the veins in his arms and even the detail in the muscles of his legs. It truly was breathtaking. When Phil and I first saw this amazing sculpture, we looked at each other and went wow. For those people who know Phil well, even he was speechless. It truly is an amazing piece of art.

After seeing some of the other artworks, we headed down to the Duomo. The line to get into the cathedral was extensive (at least a 90 minute wait) so we opted to learn more about the cathedral and baptistry. Ishmail was informative and explained the bronze doors of the baptistry in far more detail, highlighting the stories depicted from the Bible and how people would ‘read’ the pictures as most people couldn’t read back in the 1500’s when these doors were commissioned.

We then went to another church – which is very old – Orsanmichele – Church of the Guilds of Florence. It was opposite where the wool guild building was and in olden times was used as a market place, then converted to a church. It was magnificent!

After this, we headed to the Ponte Vecchio (again). Ishmail explained how initially the bridge was a market place selling meat, fruit / vegetables and fish. However, one day one of the Medici family were walking across their private bridge and the smell was so bad, he declared that the markets had to leave as it was a foul stench that welcomed visitors to Florentine. The bridge was built to house shops, so the jewellers moved in and are still there to this day. We then had a break for lunch. Phil and I decided to head back to the Piazza Della Signoria and have lunch near the square.

We had lunch at Il Bargello. It was perfect! It was a beautiful sunny day, the restaurant had water being sprayed fairly regularly. We were sitting in the square in the shade and enjoying watching the world pass by. The food was so delicious. When we sat down, we ordered some drinks and Phil asked for a large beer and Diet Coke, It wasn’t large – it was enormous! Phil ordered a pizza with mushrooms and pepperoni, whilst I had tortellini with pesto and sun-dried tomato. It was brilliant. We had sat near one of the families from our group and got talking. They were American. They had some chocolate cake, and it looked so tasty, we ended up ordering one to share too. It truly was exactly what I had imagined when we planned this holiday.

After our amazing lunch, we headed into the Uffizi. We were in the skip the line line and still had a while to wait. Ismail entertained us by explaining information about the artists and how it would work. We finally got in and went straight up to the 2nd floor. There are a lot of Renaissance art pieces housed here.

There were many pieces of art that are amazing. It is astounding to think that some of these were painted in the 1400’s and 1500’s.

The view from these windows were also beautiful.

IMG_1276

The view from the River Arno

We finished here and we were shattered. We went back to the hotel and had a snooze. Phil then went and got some washing done, whilst I edited photos and started the blog post.

We ended up going out for dinner to this little place across the road, as I felt like pizza. It was great.

We didn’t have a late night as we have an earlyish start tomorrow. We are going on a tour to Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni.

 

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