Today we tour Florence.
Florence Travel Blog› entry 11 of 24 › view all entries
July 13, our first day in Florence. Our breakfast in the room was really generous, probably due to the fact that our hostess was an ex-pat American. We were able to use a lot of the breakfast goodies to supplement our lunches while there. We had arranged for reservations to the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David, but we still had to wait in line for about 15 minutes. The line for those not having reservations, however, had more like a 1-2 hour wait.
David was simply spectacular. For Carol, it was a very emotional experience. She tried to sneak a pix (cameras were forbidden), but a camera polizia stopped her.
There were other Michelangelo sculptures in the Academia, as well as plaster models for sculptures that were in the town square. The talent displayed was awesome.
After the Accademia, we popped around the corner to the Museum of Precious Stones. I had thought I would be seeing lots of gems, but instead it was stonework. Lots of inlay pieces, from small pins to large tabletops. I run out of superlatives to describe the work. On the second floor there was an exhibit of the tools used to cut the stone, and several desks where the stonecutters worked.
Carol had found the car rental papers, and she had the hotel clerk call Hertz and explain that we would be glad to send a copy, but they didn’t want them. We were told that once we pay the bill, they can’t add any additional charges, so I guess we’re home free on the scratched hubcap.
We hit the il Centro alimentari for more lunch supplies and wine, then headed over to Plaza Santa Croce to tour the Scuola dei Cuoio, one of Florence’s leather schools.
Then we went to the Palazzo Vecchio, where the actual sculptures of the plaster ones we saw at the Accademia were located. There was also a copy of David. The original David had at one time been in the Palazzo, but during a riot in 1873, one of David’s arms was broken, and the city fathers decided the sculpture was too valuable to leave out where it could be damaged, so they moved David inside.
Rather than go all the way back to the hotel before heading out for dinner, we strolled along the Arno, and of course, took photos.
We decided to have dinner at il Latini, a very popular restaurant that had only 2 seatings, at 7:30 and 9:30. We were told we had to get there by 7 to be assured a seat, so at 7 we were patiently waiting in front of the restaurant. We struck up a conversation with a couple who came by, Mike and Roz Feeney, and when we explained the restaurant situation, Mike whipped out his cell phone and made reservations for the four of us! So we dined with Mike and Roz from Malvern, Australia, who had bought a vacation home in Spoleto and had come to Florence for the day. At the table next to us were seated some young people from Colorado Springs. Small world.
We had a very enjoyable dinner, although I pigged out and was absolutely miserable by the time we got back to the hotel. Carol had ordered a veal chop, and it was at least 3” thick! At the end of the meal, the waiter came by with biscotti and a liqueur in which we dipped the biscotti (on the house, he said), then there came a sparkling wine, which was quite delightful, also on the house, he said! Time to go, the owner came by the table, and the waiter told him what each of us had, looked at the level of wine left in the huge bottle of Chianti on the table. Then the owner asked Mike something in Italian, which I’m guessing was something along the lines of, “Are all these ladies your wives?” To which Mike replied in Italian, which I’m guessing was something along the lines of, “No, just this one,” as he hugged Roz. Everyone laughed, the owner scribbled on the bill and plopped it down by Mike, Mike looked it over, and said something along the lines of “Cheap at twice the price.
The nights we were in Florence were cool, and with the ceiling fan to draw in the cool air from the open windows, we had no need of the air conditioning. Our mornings were heralded by a neighbor who lived in the building across the alley. He probably had been a smoker all of his 70+ years (we guessed he must have been that old), smoked at least 2 packs a day, and every morning he would “greet” us with his coughing, hacking, and spitting. Which went on for at least 15 minutes! It was absolutely disgusting! Sounded like he had consumption, or some such lung malady.