We'll cross the Arno, and tour the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens.
Florence Travel Blog› entry 12 of 24 › view all entries
July 14, we packed up our lunch and headed for the Ponte Vecchio, the bridge over the Arno built in 1345. The bridge used to be populated by grocery and meat stalls, but in 1593 the Medicis, the ruling family of Florence, decided that wasn’t classy enough, so they threw out the grocers and installed gold- and silversmiths and jewelers. And so it has been to this day, although we did spy a tie shop and a leather shop at the far end of the bridge. How did they get in there?
We next went to the Pitti Palace to get our tickets to enter the Boboli Gardens. The palace was the home of the Medicis. The Royal Apartments were stuffed with masterpieces by Ruben, Titian Rembrandt, and Raphael. The Pitti also houses the Medici treasures of jeweled crucifixes, porcelain, gilded eggs, and other wonders.
We were told we could eat our lunch at the top of the gardens, so off we hiked … more stairs! The grounds were meticulously groomed, until we got to the top. Here was a fountain in a pool of electric green algae, with tiers of parched grass in a semi-circle around the fountain. We located a bench with some shade, and had a leisurely lunch, fed the birds with scraps from our bread.
We then wandered through the gardens, which were sprinkled with sculpture and which offered fantastic views of the palace and the city.
The Duomo and Baptistry, which were right outside our hotel door, were magnificent. We didn’t visit either, as the crowds were immense. The gilded bronze Baptistry doors (copies only; originals in the Museum) were executed by Lorenzo Ghiberti, who won a competition to do so, in the first half of the 15th century.