Saturday, February 19, 2011

Florence

Florence was my absolute favorite city visited.

It is so rich with history.
Everywhere I looked there were buildings and statues.
Nothing I could write could truly explain Florence.
No photograph I could take could do this city justice.
You will have to visit it yourself to understand.We began the day at Leonardo's leather works for a demonstration on how leather goods are made.
I bought a 4-band Florence puzzle ring
(which took me 4 days to learn how to solve). The story behind the ring is that a Turkish Nobleman was in love with his wife and wanted to make sure that she was faithful to him while he was away. He asked his jeweler to make him a puzzle ring that would fall apart when removed, and he would not tell her the solution.

We got a guided tour of the city.
Basilica of Santa Croce
Piazza Signoria
the city's largest open air art museum (it's free!). We saw a copy of Michaelangelo's David in its original position outside the Palazzo Vecchio, the fountain of Neptune, the famous balcony featured in the movie "Hannibal" and an array of other sculptures (all original works) in the Loggia.
Palazzo Pitti/Pitti Palace
the former humble home of the powerful Medici family. If you are into art, the Palace here has shorter lines than the Uffizi. In this palace, Michaelangelo lived, Leonardo Da Vinci built the flying machine, Galileo built the telescope and Machiavelli wrote "The Prince". It was inspiring to be in this one place where so much thought and innovation took place.
The Duomo/Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Fiore
Florence's beautiful cathedral and the 4th largest in the world. It is so intricate on the outside and beautiful on the inside as well. My legs were still hurting from the day in Sorrento so I did not climb the
(436!) steps up the famous Brunelleschi Dome.
The church was so beautiful it made me weak in the knees.
I.kid.you.not.
Mercato Nuovo.New Market
The market stalls we passed selling all sorts of goods
Porcellino
A pig with a very shiny nose which when rubbed is supposed to bring you good luck/means you will return to Florence.
Porte Vecchio/Bridge of GoldOne of Florence's most famous landmarks. The shops on the bridge are almost exclusively goldsmiths.
After our guided tour, the girls and I went for lunch at Le Botteghe di Donatello.
A man named Vincent suggested it to us and I am so glad.
I had a delicious seafood spaghetti.
This was
the best meal I had in Italy.
The owner, Rita is a sweet woman and the service is great.
If you ever visit Florence, you
must eat here.
Galleria dell'AccademiaThe small museum which houses Michaelangelo's original sculpture of David.
It is about a 5-minute walk from the Duomo in the center of Florence.
Michaelangelos' David
The most perfect work of art I have ever laid my eyes on.
I could not look away.
It is massive
(16 feet tall+the podium on which it stands) and every detail made it seem as if I was looking at a real-life person. It is absolute perfection-every muscle, every vein, just incredible.
It stands in a room all its own, illuminated by lights and the sun through sky lights.
Luckily, it is low season and the museum wasn't packed so the girls and I had time
to stare
to admire
and to sneak photographs.
It is difficult to believe that it was carved from one solid piece of marble
and that no subject posed for the carving.

After, the girls and I got some postcards and enjoyed a siesta.

That evening we drove back to Tuscany for dinner.
An entire pig was rolled out with flames.
Yum.

That night, we went out to Space Electronic Discoteque. It wasn't exactly what I had hoped for; there were more tourists than locals, but I made the most of it, danced a lot and had a good time.

Barry, Callum
(aka Scotland), Mandi, Rob and I walked back to the hotel, but took a wrong turn along the way.
I didn't mind though because Florence is just as pretty at night and we had a nice walk/talk.
Some Italians took our photograph as we posed in front of Neptune's fountain.

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