I was absolutely exhausted after yesterday’s travel and sightseeing so I did sleep in this morning. One of the great things about this little hotel is that breakfast is included, so I basically rolled out of bed and went downstairs. They had a wonderful breakfast with meats, cheeses, breads, yogurt, fruit, etc. Since I am without my daily dose of Diet Mountain Dew I had to get by with having a cappuccino. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but they are really good here. It’s probably just being in Italy that does it. I ate a substantial breakfast since I knew I had a long day ahead of me. After getting ready I headed out and down towards the local market. Unfortunately I didn’t have a great deal of time to check it out but the indoor market has tons of foods and so many of the places have whole prosciuttos hanging up (see the video Dad). I’m hoping it’s open on Sunday.
The outdoor market has every type of leather good imaginable. I wish I was in need of a purse – there are so many to choose from! One of the best things I did before my trip was to pre-book my tickets to the Accademia and the Uffizi. If you don’t, you will spend hours in line waiting. My first stop was the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David. Since I already had my confirmation I went in without any wait. I had also downloaded podcasts which guide you through the highlights of the museum. This way I just used my iPhone and had my headphones – it was like having my own personal tour guide. You round the corner and there before you is the 14 foot tall statue of David. It is truly a sight to behold and makes going to the Accademia very worthwhile. No picture can do this statue justice. Of course no photography is allowed in either museum, so I just grabbed a few off of the web for reference sake. After spending adequate time admiring David it was off to look at some of his other works including “The Prisoners”.
This name was given to this series by those in the art world and not Michelangelo himself. These are unfinished (and others say finished) pieces where the human form looks as though it is coming right out of the stone block. You can see the individual chisel marks since they are not polished pieces. They really are fascinating. There is also the “sculpture room” which has over 100 carved busts that are the “final exams” of sculptors at the Accademia. This museum is small, so I was there about an hour. The weather was perfect, warm with a decent breeze. I took my time wandering down to see the Duomo in daylight.
The line to get in the cupola was hours long so I decided to skip that (no advance tickets here). I then made my way down to the Ponte Vecchio bridge. I’m not sure what I expected, but it was actually a bridge with jewelry shops across the Arno River.
I really enjoyed just walking around this area and seeing the various bridges along the river. After crossing the PV I went over to Palazzo Pitti, home of the De Medici family.
Since I have such a short time in Florence I just admired it from the outside. My next appointment was at the Uffizi, but I needed to grab a quick lunch to help get me through the afternoon. I stopped at this little shop that had about 10 different types of paninis in the case. I managed to ask the types and do the entire order in Italian. I was very proud. That sandwich was unbelievable. What we call a Panini in the US is nothing like it is in Italy. I had to top off the meal with some gelato (one scoop of niccola and one of nutella).
I managed to do this in Italian as well and the person complemented me on my pronunciation. I said something about it being similar to French and before I knew it we were conversing in French instead. It’s funny that French seems so much easier to me these days! I will get the hang of Italian before too long. I made my way through the Palazzo Vecchio (where there is a replica of the David) and on to Uffizi. I picked up my tickets and again was able to go right in past all of the lines. This museum is expansive.
There are great works by Leonardo da Vinci (The Annunciation, The Adoration of the Magi), Sandro Botticelli (Primavera, The Birth of Venus, The Adoration of the Magi and others), Titian (Flora, Venus of Urbino), Michelangelo (The Doni Tondo) just to name a few.
I again used the podcast and took my time going through. Something else I did was to list to classical music on my iPod when not doing the tour. This helped to drown out the other masses of people that were around. The Tribune Room was unfortunately undergoing restoration, so I’m sorry to have missed that. From one of the windows one was able to see the red roofed buildings which were built for the De Medici so they could have their own private passage across the Arno.
After 3 hours I’d had enough and was ready to head back for a break. I rested up before going out to find dinner. I had found this little place on line that I wanted to try, but after walking around for 30 minutes, I was not able to find it. I even asked some locals, but to no avail. I realized I wasn’t really hungry, but before I went to the classical concert I thought I should grab something. I did go and get a slice of pizza. The concert was held at the Chiesa S. Stefano. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it turned out to be such a wonderful evening. There was a pianist and a baritone. I have included a video – it was very dark so the picture isn’t worth much, but the sound is.
The concert ended around 10:30 and I was absolutely exhausted and my feet hurt. It was time to head back to the hotel for another much needed nights rest.