Florence


So on the Saturday afternoon, after an immense 24 hours in Pisa, we hopped on a train and zipped off to Florence, a mere hour away.

Glorious wisteria in full spring bloom…

The Ponte Vecchio in the morning sunshine

Really big door – one thing we noticed and loved about both Pisa and Florence was the proliferation of REALLY BIG doors. Apparently the renaissance didn’t do things by halves, and unnecessarily large doors appear to be the result. Expect to see a few of these, because we love a really big door.

Palazzo something or other – it was very large!

View from the Ponte Vecchio looking the other way

Goldsmiths and Jewellers on the bridge – apparently the Medici’s decreed that only jewellers could have shops on the bridge because fishmongers and other food merchants were far too smelly. Or something to that effect (as I write this I no longer have the guidebook to refer to, so my partially-remembered facts may well be less than accurate…)

MOUNTAINS of gelato. Yummmmmm. So many flavours, so little time. Also interesting fact – a gelato sold from a shop on the actual Ponte Vecchio will fetch a cool 8 euros for a small, whereas 4 metres away at a gelato shop not on the actual bridge will be around 3-4 euros. Talk about a tourist mark-up!

No idea who this bust is of, but he’s on the bridge.

REALLY BIG DOOR!!!

Peeking at the Duomo through alleyways

At the Piazza della Signoria – a group of wonderful sculptures outside the Palazzo Vecchio.

This one is one of my absolute favourites, The rape of the Sabines

Hercules defeating a centaur

Attempting to look evil with Macchiavelli – hard not to laugh though.

Michelangelo – one of the 4 famous Ninja Turtles.

And Leonardo – the 2nd ninja turtle

At the Uffizi

After seeing this one, I decided that I hereby insist on being known as “Maya the Magnificent” – weirdly it’s not catching on though….

Obligatory Vespa in Italy shot

Inside the Uffizi – a rather lovely triptych with a fascinating slideshow pointing out where you can see the painter changed his mind and moved things around. Also Jesus looks hilariously bored in all of these. Sort of “Do I look bovvered?”

Loving this lady’s marble shawl

The amazing frescoes on the ceiling in the corridor of the Uffizi

Lot of Madonna and Child pictures – I especially like this one as you rarely see “Angry Jesus” – he looks like he was recently denied a biscuit and is about to kick off.

One of my favourite pics at the Uffizi – Botticelli’s Spring

The Duke and Duchess of Urbino – he had a famously crooked nose, and she was already deceased when this portrait was done, which is why she was painted in white.

The Birth of Venus – another fab Botticelli

This was brilliant – a tactile version of the Birth of Venus that blind people could feel to see what the painting is like. A fabulous idea, although I didn’t see many others, so not sure how great the experience would be in general for a blind person at the Uffizi, but I do like the gesture.

More fab frescoes

The Tribune Room – an amazing octagonal room – the ceiling is inlaid with hundreds of mother-of-pearl shells

 

View of the Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi

Pausing for a gin and tonic on the rooftop in the sunshine – with a view of the Palazzo Vecchio next door

This sculpture was made of some amazing type of stone which was very shiny but incredibly hard to carve.

I love how mundane this is – boy picking a splinter out of his foot.

Another picture that I love – cherub with guitar

This one was lovely too – especially the way the light makes their faces glow.

Sunset at the Ponte Vecchio

View of the Uffizi from across the river

Random cool groovy sculpture on the road back to our bus stop

Wine and Pizza for dinner

My first ever Calzone

We stayed at the most fantastic Pensione – it was like a really small, old-fashioned guest house, with complimentary sherry in the lounge.

AMAZING lampposts with little legs!

But what will you drink?

Then we went to see the Duomo, Cattedrale and Campanile (Bell Tower – which we climbed up).

First up, the Battistero, with some incredible gold-leaf stories from the bible all around the inside of the dome. it was beautiful, but quite hard to look straight up for so long!

Also some pretty cool mosaic tiled floors!

Next – we climbed up the Campanile… (the bell tower)

Here are some views from the bell tower…

REALLY BIG DOOR ALERT!!!

Next up – the Cattedrale itself…

The inside of the Duomo itself – amazing frescoes!

Mosaics on the floor of the crypt below the cathedral

A lovely little osteria we stopped at for lunch. Loving their wine collection

At the museum, where the real bronze (really massive) doors are –

Saint Agatha – she really does look extremely miserable – poor Agatha

LOVING these guys – they’re all such total posers!

From the Museum at the Duomo we headed back across the river and walked up a LOT of steps to the Piazzale Michelangelo, to see the sunset views of the city

One of the fake David’s at sunset

Then after dinner we went for a wander to see what everything looked like all lit up at night

Time for one last look at my favourite sculptures

Fake David number 2

Peeking in at swanky restaurants

And appreciating the master of multi-function spaces – you can drink, eat, dance AND get all your photocopying done! Brilliant!

Last day, at the Galleria Academia, to see the real David at last.

I love this Jesus – so far we’ve seen Bored Jesus and Angry Baby Jesus, but this one is just cool as a cucumber, he’s all “Yo”

The real David was truly magnificent – well worth the visit.

Fun facts about David – the tree trunk near his leg is required for balance, otherwise it’s too top-heavy and would fall over.

Michelangelo found the unused block of marble near the Duomo and asked if he could have it – and didn’t select the block of stone as they usually did.

The hands and head are disproportionately large, because he was supposed to go up on the cathedral roof, and would have been in proportion when viewed from below – however once he was done they liked him so much he was put on display outside the Palazzo Vecchio instead – until he was moved to his own, purpose-built museum. One of the fake David’s is now outside the Palazzo Vecchio instead.

Interesting room at the Galleria – the plaster bust room, where all the plaster moulds of the sculptures are. We watched a very interesting video about the process of how the marble sculptures get made too.

 

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