Thursday, June 26, 2014

Florence by Foot

Next stop on our trip was Florence. The Hubby and I had collected our car following the train ride from Cinque Terre into LaSpezia and the best thing we did was to get the GPS NeverLost upgrade.
NeverLost does lose its connection to the satellite once in a while, but we were still able to find our way around Northern Italy without too many problems, and wondered how we could have managed before GPS.
We dropped the car off at the Florence airport and then got a cab into our next hotel. We would walk everywhere from there.
Little disclaimer here. Be ready for a picture explosion. Not that my travel posts are ever short on pictures, but I'm just sayin'.
We headed out immediately on a walk along the east side of the Arno River to get oriented to the cities layout, and check out the bridges. My easy travel/walking gear always included reading glasses, camera, and side shoulder clutch sized purse. When I go shopping, or need other items, I put these original things all into a larger shoulder purse. I would find out in about 2 hours that I should've brought the larger bag with a couple of umbrellas in it, for it rained in a complete bursting of clouds for about 45 minutes in the late afternoon.
Calm before the storm. Still very bright sunny colors abound in the buildings and homes, just like the rest of Tuscany that we have just experienced.
This unique bridge is called Ponte Vecchio and has shops all along the sides of the medieval arched bridge. Apparently it was once a common thing to have butcher shops, and markets occupying this space. Now it is full of jewelry and touristy souvenirs instead.
The Hubby noticing the door type coverings for the shops. Half come down to connect with the half that lift up. They are ornately carved wood and we noticed the beautiful old hinges and locks that held them together. He bought me some cool jewelry of Rose Gold. (Thanks Hun)
This guy just looks perturbed. I wouldn't want to have met him in a dark alley, (or at the dinner table either, I suppose.)
Then we went in search of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. The marble exterior in greens, peaches, and whites is pretty amazing. The detail that went into this facade is incredible and we enjoyed seeing it both from the ground...

Pretty fancy Gothic Revival finished in the 1800's. The "Duomo" as it is called, was started in 1296 and we were able to go up to the dome (a few pictures down here.)
The David by Michelangelo was the most breathtaking piece of art I have ever seen. Its detail and the beauty of the human body, its capturing of the power, strength and innocence, the magnificence of the  Carrara marble, and the dome that was built to house it all add to its beauty. I was truly amazed that I was so moved by it as I was.
You see him holding onto a rock and sling which goes up his back and across his left shoulder where he is holding the end of it in his left hand. Apparently Michelangelo wanted him to look strong, yet have the strength manifest in his intellect. It worked. Completely.

End of story.

But there was more to see in this old art capital.
Lots of plaster pieces that were studied by various artists and marked in specific areas to measure distance when the sculpture was being carved. I guess they take calipers and angles to make sure they are as close as possible to perfection.
How about these streets?  Crazy European streets. I guess a horse and carriage never has to pass another horse and carriage.
This is after climbing up to the base of the Duomo. Heaven and hell are represented from the top to the bottom. Quite imaginative. 
 We made it to the top of the Duomo!!!!! Yeah!
Looking out toward the clock tower which is 6 meters shorter. Look at those sucka's over there.
 The builders carefully stored the measuring implements they made for all the stairs, domes, arches, etc. If anyone every needs to fix something, here's the place to begin.
 Should I touch him? He winked at me.
A model of David out in the elements. Still impressive, but not as spiritual for me.
 The Uffizi museum was FULL of cool stuff.  Here's Venus coming ashore.
 The Three Graces in Botticelli's Primavera. I didn't know about them. They are also referred to as the Charites and represent charm, beauty, and creativity in Greek Mythology. There are many famous artists and paintings that depicted them. Here they are with Mercury and Venus.
The whole museum is an art piece. It is formerly a castle where the Florentine Royals lived.
And if they needed to flee quickly from their enemies, they'd run across the Vecchio bridges top floor that is unoccupied to this day.
 Sculptures and paintings everywhere.
This wall looked like it had cameo's decorating the columns. Very cool paint job, I'd say.

One thing we didn't get a picture of was of us eating a Gelato.  Seriously almost daily we would go get a yummy cone or cup of various different flavors of the cold wonderful stuff.  Should really have a picture of that. It was how we spent 15% of our time. (Insert smile here)

We ate huge Florentine style steak which we shared, and pasta, fresh vegetables, and fish. We continued to walk our feet off, which made us sleep well so we could be ready for the next leg of our trip.

Here we come Prague.


  1. What an adventure! I totally enjoyed the mini-tour, having never been there myself.


  2. Read the translation of "O Mio Babbino Caro" by Puccini. She refers to throwing herself off the Ponte Vecchio into the Arno. You've seen it!