Fun in Florence

Trip Start May 24, 2010
1
12
26
Trip End Jul 21, 2010


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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Friday, June 18, 2010

We arrived in Florence via an uneventful train ride and were delighted by our hotel. The spacious, yet simple, hotel room contained all the amenities we've been skimping on in other cities (internet and breakfast included)!  It was a nice treat.  Before venturing out to the sights, we grabbed a quick lunch at Cantinetta dei Verrazzano, a café we had seen on a tv show prior to leaving the states, and were not disappointed.  We both had a slice of the best pizza / bruschetta (we’re still debating which it was) we’ve ever had.  The sweet cherry tomatoes were delicious and unlike anything we’ve ever tried before in the states.  First on the agenda was a visit to the Duomo cathedral, famous for its dome within a dome construction.  The Duomo’s dome is seen as one of the key catalysts of the Renaissance.  It was built with an air of confidence, knowing that at that time no technology existed capable of capping the dome – the Parthenon in Rome has a similar dome size but the knowledge of how to build it was lost when Rome fell.  One contending idea was to build a huge mound of dirt to support the dome during construction and lace the dirt with coins so peasants would take away the dirt for free.  Eventually, Brunelleschi pulled it off, not only engineering the dome within a dome construction (providing a hollow space making it light enough to support itself), but also innovating construction techniques and managing a major logistical operation.  We enjoyed seeing the impressive structure and climbing between the two domes.  In addition, we saw the Duomo Museum which contains many works previously held in the Duomo, including Michelangelo’s Pieta and Donatello’s Mary Magdalene.  We ended the night with a romantic dinner along the Arno River overlooking the Ponte Vecchio bridge at the Golden View Open Bar.

The next day was packed full with museum reservations.  You can make reservation appointments to avoid the long lines.  We figured this would especially pay off with the relentless rain that day.  However, there was still a 15 minute line outside the building for reservations and once inside we were greeted by surprisingly rude staff.  We started off at the Bargello where we saw Donatello’s David – the first freestanding nude statue sculpted in a thousand years.  Later in the afternoon, we saw Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia.  It was fun comparing Donatello’s boyish David with Michelangelo’s intimidating David (standing over 17 feet tall and looking quite powerful).  We stopped for lunch at the Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori, a lovely Italian restaurant well worth the hour stroll it took us to find along the winding, dually named streets.  We both had unique pasta dishes with noodles we’d never heard of and Creighton especially liked the raspberry tiramisu.  That afternoon, we visited the Uffizi Gallery where we saw Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Titian’s Venus of Urbino.  Also noteworthy was the Caravaggio exhibit, complete with over 9 rooms full of paintings and two multimedia rooms.  Even still, the exhibit had a grand total of one piece of Caravaggio’s work.  Another surprise this prestigious museum holds is the nearly quarter mile of continuous gift shops requisite to exit the museum – They had everything from tradition art books to wine and olives to Ferragamo bags and ties.  That evening we had dinner at Trattoria Nella, along with many other trusty guidebook followers.  Kelly enjoyed her gnocchi, however Creighton ventured out and tried the rabbit which he found bland and dry.

Unfortunately, our last day in Florence was rainy and Kelly was feeling a little under weather.  As we had seen all of the sights we really wanted to see, we spent the day relaxing in the hotel room watching the World Cup games and making some reservations for upcoming stops.  We’re looking forward to a less rainy forecast in Rome!
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Comments

Mary Anne Wherry on

Florence is so beautiful-and so crowded! You really explained the construction of the dome. Have fun in Rome! I really love hearing about your meals!

Ellen McManaway on

We are SOOOO envious! Florence is our favorite place ever! We are so happy that you had the opportunity to enjoy this trip, and are enjoying your posts very much! THANKS!

Ed & Ellen

Uncle John and Aunt Ruth on

Are you gaining weight on those fabulous desserts? Thanks for sharing your pictures and experiences. What a trip!

kelncre
kelncre on

We have been enjoying the food -- as I'm sure you can tell by the pictures :) Luckily, we've been doing enough walking to make up for the extra desserts!

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