Day 5: Rome to Florence

Florence Travel Blog

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Brian and Me overlooking Florence

"I'm looking forward to dinner in Chianti (slurp, slurp)." -- Brian said in his best Hannibal Lecter voice. 

Today we head off to the famed region of Tuscany. 

As we leave Rome we pass the Olympic Village of 1960.  Interestingly, the idea of the Olympic Village was conceived by Il Duce himself 30 years before and it is here on the gymnasium where you can find the only remaining mention of Mussolini's name in the entire country. 

It takes us about 3 1/2 hours to get to Florence in the heart of Tuscany.  Once we arrive, I must admit it is nice and pretty, but frankly a little overrated.  It's not THAT spectacular.  However, we have only a day here and we need to make the most of it.

The heart of the city
  Brian and I are in a quick dash as soon as the bus stops.  We go straight to the Uffizi Gallery.  Rick Steves says this must-see site "is the greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere."  We were most impressed with the 14th century illuminated manuscripts and Botticelli's Birth of Venus which Brian swears he has never seen before though I'm not sure that that's possible. 

After leaving the Uffizi, we have a little bit of time to ourselves before we must reunite with our group for a city tour.  We wander around Florence.  It's much, much smaller than Rome with a quaint, old world charm.  Local law says no buildings can be taller than the duomo and that keeps everything in check.  We do a little shopping at the outdoor markets (leather is the hot product in this town), split a piece of pizza (the best yet) and sample some more gelato (rice flavored and surprisingly good).

David in all his glory
 

We meet back with our group for our walking tour.  We stop at Piazza Michaelangelo (a park named after one of the city's famous sons) for a view of the city and a visit to a bronze replica of David.  We aldo visit the Santa Croce Basilica where lots of local boys done good are buried including Michaelangelo, Gallieleo, Machieveli and Rossini (Dante is also a native son, but was exiled from Florence late in life.  When he died, the city wanted his body returned, but his will stipulated that it not be. Nonetheless, there is still a nice tribute to him here).  In the Piazza Signora, we see an exact copy of the David with its enlarged hand signifying the hand of God helping him in his slaying of Goliath.  At the Baptistery, we see Lorenzo Ghiberti's bronze door which tells the stories of the Old Testament in each of its frames (Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, Noah, Moses, Sacrifice of Isaac, etc.

The door leading to Paradise
).  When Michaelangelo saw this door, he proclaimed it to be the gate into paradise.  In fact, he was so inspired by it, he went off and sclupted his own version of David. 

It was veyr hot in Florence and after all that we did today, we were very relieved to retire early tonight (too bad the AC at the hotel is broken).  Our dinner is local takeout (no fava beans for us). 

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Brian and Me overlooking Florence
Brian and Me overlooking Florence
The heart of the city
The heart of the city
David in all his glory
David in all his glory
The door leading to Paradise
The door leading to Paradise
Cute, quaint, narrow streets
Cute, quaint, narrow streets
I love this picture.
I love this picture.
Florence
photo by: monky