Florence, Italy

November 18th and 19th, 2002

Florence view

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.
Florence Dome Florence Dome Florence Dome
Florence Dome Front Florence Dome Back Florence Dome
Florence Dome Florence Dome
Florence Dome Florence Dome
Florence Dome Florence Dome

View from on top of the Duomo was great!!!!
Florence View
Florence View Florence View

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!
Piazza Signoria Piazza Signoria Piazza Signoria
Piazza Signoria Piazza Signoria

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.
Ponte Vecchio Ponte Vecchio

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.

Garden Boboli
******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!

Bridge View

The Fill in with picts End

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