November 18th and 19th, 2002
Monday morning, we caught the morning train to Florence (only about 2 1/2 hr ride). Florence is more of a shopping and eating kind of place, rather then old ruins. There are a few major attractions to see, but can easily be done in a day. As soon as we set out sight seeing, it began to drizzle on us. Armed with our umbrellas we began looking for a place to eat lunch. As we walked by this one place, the food smelled really great so we walked inside. It was a little stand-up type café where you point at the homemade food in window and they put it on a plate for you. Since I wanted to try something different we got the gnocchi with asparagus and the meatloaf with sauce. The spices in the food where great and the prices even better!
First stop after lunch was the Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
The Duomo utilizes a double-shelled construction with self-supporting interlocking
bricks. Of course, it offers for your enjoyment, 463 steps to the top of the cupola
for the view of the city. The great thing about the Duomo is that is can be seen from
all over town, so it makes it hard to get lost! I especially enjoyed the decorative
brick of the outside of the building, which I find quite unique.
View from on top of the Duomo was great!!!!
Since it was still drizzling, we decided to stop for a cappuccino and relax. Then
it was a little bit of window-shopping before dinner. We ended up eating dinner at a
little restaurant that one of the shops suggested. After dinner, we happened upon the
Piazza Della Signoria, which in the summertime is usually full of tables and bands.
In 1497, religious leader Savonarola convinced Florentines to light the “Bonfire of the
Vanities”, which was a burning of some of Florence’s best art in the middle of the square.
Then Savonarola was burned in the same spot a year later. Also in the Piazza there is a
sculpture of Neptune and a copy of Michelangelo’s David. We, of course, came back here
the next day to get some pictures in the daylight!
Tuesday morning we set out for the Ponte Vecchio. This is an old bridge (1345), which
is lined with buildings housing goldsmiths and diamond-carvers. At one point, the bridge
housed butcheries and tanneries, but the odor of pig’s blood offended bankers on their way
to work and so they were kicked out! This bridge is quite beautiful in the evening as the
shop window lights sparkle with jewellery.
Next stop was the Garden Di Boboli. An example of Renaissance landscaping, this garden contains geometrically shaped hedges, fountains, trees, and sculptures. It was a great retreat from the busy streets of Florence! Wandering around through out the trees and bushes, it was enjoyable coming out into clearings to see what fountain or sculptured awaited you. At last, we were starving and set off to find lunch.
******To See the Gardens, Just Click on the Picture!!!!!*****
One of the great things that Florence has to offer is the Uffizi Museum. It houses artwork from Boticelli, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Durer, Rubens, and Rembrandt all in a palace designed in 1554. Beside the Uffizi, there is also the Accademia which houses the real sculpture of Michelangelo’s David!
The afternoon found us shopping for some bargains on European clothes! We didn’t
go too wild, but had a ton of fun. I tried on everything from tall leather boots, to
sweaters, to cute black pants! After dinner, we stopped for dinner at a somewhat fancy
little place. We tried the duck with a grape sauce and raviolis with a truffle sauce.
Both dishes were excellent!
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