Awoke Tuesday morning to glorious weather, sunny, not a cloud in the sky and wonderfully cool in the shade, slightly warm in the sun…my idea of perfection. We left the hotel and headed for the Academy where I had pre purchased tickets as suggested by every guide book I saw. Apparently only a few other folks have read them since there had to be 200 or more in line at 9am. I can only imagine what it is like in summer with hordes of people and hot weather. We entered the hall after about a 10 minute wait right on time per our tickets and Mike was suitably impressed with David. We had discussed coming since he isn’t a huge sculpture fan and after seeing the reproduction standing outside Palazzo Vecchio (where the real David originally stood for 400 years the night before), I was afraid we might have wasted the entrance fee. That wasn’t the case. Mike later said, if we come back to Florence I will probably want to come visit him again. It is really that awe inspiring of a sculpture. The proximity of Michaelangelo’s unfinished sculptures, the prisoners adds to the realization of how incredible an artist he was, able to carve something so beautiful from a hunk of raw rock…and according to Rick Steves without any guidelines, he did it all freehand.
After leaving David we walked to San Lorenzo, which was the Medici’s family church. If you aren’t familiar with them, they were the Kennedy’s, Bushes, And Clintons of their day…a huge political family/dynasty who controlled Florence and much of Italy for years. I had intended to pre purchase tickets for the Laurentian Library which is located off the cloister beside the church but apparently my early onset of Alheizmers kicked in and I bought tickets to the Medici chapels whichever this incredibly ornate octagonal space designed as a memorial to the Medici by the Medici. No worries, we will just see both. We did the chapel with apparently every Italian high school student- the guard went horse repeating “SILENZIO” and then headed next door to the cloister where to purchase our ticket for the library. I was out of cash, so I left Mike at the ticket window, he bought two tickets and around the cloister and upstairs we went. When we got to the door, the nice guard told us they were closing. Apparently we had bight tickets to go in the church….Mike was perturbed that I had left him at the ticket window since I do have a little (very little I have come to realize :-(. ) Italian left in me. But it all turned out well as we enjoyed another church and it is do different from the Duomo. Additionally, we saw a video of what Michelangelo had intended for the facade redo but the Pope ended up canceling it, much to BigMike’s dismay.
After leaving San Lorenzo and walked a block or two to Florence’s bustling market. I love walking threw them and seeing the variety of food, flowers, and of course people. We wandered trying to decide whether to have lunch from one of the hot food vendors or by making a picnic. We finally decided on the picnic. We picked a stall with a friendly lady and we pointed and ordered several kinds of salami, prosciutto, cheeses, marinated artichokes. We were preparing to take it away and intended to go outside but she had a better idea. She shooed away one of what appeared to be her regular customers from the small counter with two stools on the side of her counter and told us to sit down. She asked if we wanted wine and of curse we said, Si, Gratzie! When it came time to pay, we were concerned we might have to make an ATM run…it could have easily been a $40 lunch given the quantity and quality of the cold cuts, the wine and bread….but the total bill was €18. So slightly twenty bucks. amazing!
After lunch we went to the DaVinci Museum that Mike had discovered in his reading. This private museum has built working models of the Master’s inventions; the tank, the parachute, etc. some of them you actually get to put hands on and manipulate. Pretty cool.
We then headed back to rest our feet. Thank goodness we have been on our new exercise program or there is no way we could have done what we have done, but my feet still need a rest After being on them for hours.
We headed out to dinner which was at the Cingale Bianco ( white boar) an osteria I had enjoyed with my Mom on my last visit to Florence. I had the most amazing steak that time. Our dinner last night while tasty, did not live up to my memory of my first visit. Of course the dinner from the night bedsore may have set the bar too high. We did have some amazing fresh mozzarella with fresh shaved truffles. Of course I forgot to take a picture of that. After dinner, we walked back to the hotel but stopped by the Square in front of the church near our hotel. Apparently they are having a local farm to table sort of festival and there were all these booths with amazing food. I was so mad that we hadn’t discovered it for dinner instead of the less than satisfying meal at the white boar. We stopped to look at one stall and ended up buying several cheeses to take with us to Rome to have with wine on the terrace of our apartment. We also bought Mike’s brother a salami that was very tasty. They vacuum packed it for us so hopefully it will make it home and not end up in a bin at customs. We also tasty the local specialty, cow stomach that had been braised in a pressure cooker. It was tasty and glad we tried, but doubt I would order it.
Currently on the train to Rome on Wednesday morning. Just before boarding we got a text from Yost (Mike’s fraternity brother and father to Mike’s godchild) and Sam that they had landed in Rome. We are meeting them at the train station and then to our apartment for the next three nights.
The tiny elevator:
Scenes from the market
Our incredible lunch
The lady who fixed it and her stall
Scenes around Florence
Tomato and Bread soup and pasta del pesto our starters
Delicious panda cotta with mixed berries
The late night market including huge salami and really interesting pork roast where it appeared that they had deboned almost the whole pig, rolled it in its skin, tied together and then Rotissied it. OMG so tasty