Day three of our Florence experience began with a trip to the Accademia to see the original “David” by Michaelangelo. Our guide helped us to see the artist’s majestic statue in a new light and we felt the wiser for understanding the piece in a different way. There were many more wonderful pieces of art in this gallery and a few interesting exhibits – one we viewed was on Renaissance musical instruments. The rest of our day was free in Florence and we chose to visit the Galileo Museum. The pieces above represent many scientific advances either by Galileo himself or from his base of knowledge. You can see that they were not only functional instruments, but beautiful too. I also included a statue of Dante for those of you reading the newest Dan Brown book, “Inferno.” Florence is a beautiful city – one which I hope to return to.
Our second day in Florence began with a tour of the Uffizi Gallery. Unfortunately, photography was prohibited inside the museum. We did however see the early Renaissance Town Hall with a copy of the “David” out front as well as the Neptune Fountain. The original “David” stood in front of this governmental building for over 300 years before it was moved inside to preserve it. Ferragamo has a museum as well as Gucci and a few other famous fashion icons. The Wild Boar is the place where visitors to Florence rub his snout for luck and place a coin in his mouth for a wish. The Ponte Vecchio is a bridge that has stood for over 500 years and has been a shopping area for all that time. Today it houses many fine gold and leather stores. The Palazzo Pitti was the home of the ruling Medici family who accumulated a wealth of fine art and sculpture over the centuries. The palace is now a fine museum with the beautiful Boboli Gardens attached.
The fun part of the day came at mid-day when we went for our Italian Cooking Lesson. We split into teams and prepared a Tuscan Feast of Bruschetta, (made from scratch) Pasta Pomodoro, Turkey Cutlets in White Wine sauce, and Tiramisu. It was great fun and we enjoyed the feast we had prepared in a cool wine cellar.
Sorry for the delay in posting. Our internet connection in Florence was not the best so I waited to post about Florence until we arrived in Rome. As you can see from the pictures above, our room in Florence was “fit for a king” with a canopied bed and a large room. The Hotel Loggiato die Servi is on St Marks Square just a few blocks from the Duomo. The hotel was a former monastery that had been renovated, and the rooms were beautifully appointed. The stairwells provided a delight around every corner. The view from our room was amazing as we could see the Duomo over the roof tops. We begin our time in each city with an orientation walk so we can get our bearings and know how to navigate the city. Daniella, our guide, is talking to our group on the front porch of the hotel giving us a brief overview. We then walked down toward the Duomo seeing palaces on every street with beautiful courtyard enclosed by iron gates. These palaces are still in use as private homes, hotels, or businesses. We arrived at the Duomo to see Brunelleschi’s Cathedral Dome and were treated to a surprise visit to the Duomo Museum to see Ghiberti’s original Baptistry Doors of Paradise. We also saw an unfinished Michaelangelo Pieta and many other beautiful pieces. We finished our first day in Florence with a hearty Tuscan feast at Angelo’s Restaurant, complete with a flaming main course. On to more of the beauty and history of Florence tomorrow.