Final day in Florence

Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
1
8
21
Trip End Jul 28, 2007


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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

We woke up early to try to get to the Duomo early; we knew that the longer we waited the hotter it would be.  By the way, it was oppressively hot in Florence.  We then had an amazingly slow breakfast so that all in all, we arrived about 9 am.  We were hoping to beat the heat and the crowds, and I think we just beat both.  The walk up was not as bad as we expected, there was a big sign at the beginning "there is no elevator and there are 437 steps (or whatever the number was, this is close), not recommended for those with heart disease."  By the way, everything in Florence is written in Italian and English (and everyone speaks at least enough English to do whatever business you need to do with them, Jay says, "It's like visiting Disneyworld.")
 
There are two balconies inside the duomo's dome.  These are pretty impressive, as the dome's interior is painted and you've got this amazing view of it.  However, the true treat is the view of Florence from the top of the dome.  It is so very pretty, and so very worth the climb!  There is the most amazing view, which words will not do justice to.  I can only include pictures.
 
On the way down, before we exited, we had a pretty good view of the interior of the church itself, so that we never paid the admission or stood in line to go back in and view the church from the peasant area.  That area was restricted to behind the pews, so that it was about 2/3 of the distance towards the back of the church from where the exit was.
 
From the top of the Duomo, we could see this street bazaar, so we wandered over to it.  There was SO MUCH street shopping it wasn't funny, it was very serious business.  However, this is where you want to do your purse or scarf shopping in Italy (and of course, I did!).  Lots of leather goods, and even more scarves.  Silk, cashmere, blends, and even polyesters if you want them.  We ended up spending a lot of time wandering through the stalls.  They were very near the San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence) church, so we went inside.  I got to wear my church skirt!  The church was pretty, but pictures were not allowed so we didn't take any.
 
As we were exiting the stall area, we found the Mercato Centrale, which is where to go if you want any sort of gourmet foods in Florence.   There were meat markets, fish vendors, cheese stores, and a bunch of little gourmet food places selling olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, and lemoncello.  We bought cheese, random salami, and bread and went back to the hotel to have lunch.
 
After lunch, we decided that we wanted to see two more landmarks in Florence, both churches.  We visited Santa Maria Novella, which "everyone" on the internet said was a must see, and also San Croce.  Santa Maria Novella (SMN) had this museum associated with it which had all of these relics, including relics that contained pieces of bone from deceased saints.  We found this really bizarre, these pieces of saint bone in the middle of the relics.
 
San Croce was more a mausoleum than a church.  Everyone from Florence and their brother was buried there.  Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Machiavelli (he was Christian?), Galileo (didn't the church excommunicate him?), Marconi (inventor of the radio), Fermi (won at least one Nobel Prize for his work in particle physics), and there's a tomb for Dante, but he's not actually buried in it.  Many, many others are also buried in this church.
 
After that we were as done with Florence as we were going to get.
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