I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Beautiful Day in Florence

The Central Market

aisles and aisles of produce, nuts, pasta, oils, meats, spices....etc

Tripe looks nasty even uncooked

shark, front and center

trash compactors in the city instead of trash cans

The Duomo

Inside the Duomo

a very beautiful and interesting 24 hour clock in the back of the church

approaching the altar

gorgeous painted dome begun in 1568 by Giorgio Vasari and completed by Federico Zuccari by 1579.
the 3d illusion was amazing

Inside the Cathedral Museum (Museo dell'Opera del Duomo)

Michelangelo's Pieta that he was creating to put on his own tomb. He abandoned this project in anger when he deemed the marble flawed. It was completed by Tiberio Calcagni and Calcagni added the female figure on the left presumed to be Mary Magdalene.

never completed by Michelangelo, but it was very interesting to see the chisel marks by the master himself

The face of Nicodemus (or Joseph of Araminthea) is said to be the face of Michelangelo himself.

Ghiberti's original Gates of Paradise doors from the baptistery, completely restored. Each 3d relief panel depicts scenes from the Old Testament and each scene depicts more than one even with that character.

panel depicting Noah

Depicting Isaac with Esau and Jacob

depicting Joseph

more medici balls on a crest. The Medici crest is prominently displayed on buildings all over Florence and Tuscany which have connections to the family or which were financed with Medici money.

the Baptistery with the replicated Gates of Paradise

The Baptism of Christ. The original statues are located inside the Duomo Museum

Baptistery with panels done by many different artists date from 1225.

natural light floods in from the upper windows

the original silver altar of St. John the Baptist is now inside of the Duomo Museum

beautiful mosaics on the floor

baptismal font made in 1370

Arno river looking pretty muddy after all the rain

street artist drawing with pastel

translated: "Reason, Our Joy, Pray for us". I have no idea why that skull with the turned up heart shaped nose is under the cross?

gallery of statues in the Loggia dei Lanzi along the Palazzo Vecchio

the original Rape of the Sabine Women which we saw the plaster cast for in the Accademia

Hercules and the Centaur (Giambologna with the help of Pietro Francavilla)

the "other" David or known to us as the "fake David" found in Palazzo Vecchio

inside the Uffizi

beautiful ceilings in the Uffizi, the only thing we were allowed to photograph

view from the Uffizi windows

Palazzo Vecchio tower

cappuccino break

the fountain of Neptune in Palazzo Vecchio

our dinner spot

Prosecco to start the meal

our dinner wine

salad with pine nuts


spaghetti with bolognese

fried potatoes

sauteed mushrooms that were pretty nasty

steak with bacon and rosemary

another version of steak

interior room of where we were eating

the "painted room"

strange sculpture in the corner of our table


flourless chocolate cake
We awoke to glorious sunshine this morning! This was our last day in Florence and Danny and I wanted to make the most of it. My traveling companions wanted a later start to their day today so Danny and I decided to strike out on our own to see and do some of the things we had hoped to do. We left the hotel a little after 9 and went to the Market Centrale (Central Market) to see what the people of Florence had in their markets. We found stands of beef including tripe (yuck!), seafood of all kinds, vegetables, fruits, spices, pasta, you name it and they probably had it all under one roof. Unlike a supermarket or grocery, these places have individual vendors all under one roof. We left there and went to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore (commonly known as the Duomo). This is the largest cathedral we have ever been in, even bigger than Notre Dame! It is a Florentine and Renaissance landmark, and architectural masterpiece, built by Filipppo Brunelleschi using neither supports nor scaffolding. It was completed in 1436. It's main feature is a beautiful dome with a spectacular Last Judgement fresco painted by Vasari and Zuccari in 1579. Danny wanted to climb the 463 steps up into the dome and I wanted to go to the Duomo Museum so we bought our tickets and split up. I was surprised to find the museum under renovation, but thankfully the two items I wanted to see were the only two items that could be seen, Michelangelo's Pieta originally intended for his own tomb and the restored Baptistery East doors by Ghiberti. What treasures they were to see! After that, Danny had not come back from his climb so I went into the Battistero (the Baptistery). This is a 5th century baptistery that was rebuilt in the 11th century. It is considered a Renaissance gem because of it's bronze doors. The 3D sculpted decorations of the south doors are by Andrea Pisano (14th century). Ghiberti made the north and east doors (15th century). Michelangelo said that the east doors were so beautiful, they should be called the Gate of Paradise referring to the doors of heaven. Inside the Baptistery is a beautiful mosaic dome made in the 1200's of Venetian glass also of the Last Judgement. The Baptistery is the oldest building in Florence and until the end of the nineteenth century, all Catholic Florentines were baptized there. From there, I met Danny after his climb, he took a quick peak into the Baptistery, and we went walking over the Vecchio Bridge to look for a ceramic artist I had found on the internet, but she was closed today and tomorrow. As I am known to say…..oh well! We shopped around a bit before reconnecting with our travel companions at the hotel and going for lunch at a local pizza and sandwich spot. Sara Beth and Brian had been to a Russian museum this morning where they saw three Kandinsky paintings that would normally have been separated by hundreds of miles but were in a special exhibit all at one place. We had not had any gelato at all since leaving Venice, where we ate it twice a day, so we walked through the Central Market and on to Grom, a favorite in Florence for gelato and it was delicious! As we were about to go to the Ufizzi, a famous art museum, Frank and Brian thought they might need a little coffee pick-me-up before they stood for a couple of hours viewing art and we obliged them for a coffee break. The Galleria degli Ufizzi, commonly known as Ufizzi, was amazing! The building was built by Vasari in 1560 to house the administrative offices of the state of Tuscany and now has become one of the leading museums in the world. How could we not go? It gives a wonderful overview of Italian painting. Hallie had given me a list of paintings that she had studied in her Italian Art History class and they just happened to be included in Rick Steve's walk of the Ufizzi. Rick Steve's is a person who does tours all over the United States and I am a big fan of his books especially when they can get you through a huge museum efficiently without missing the highlights. Our men were surprised that they were actually interested in and appreciated what we saw today in the museum. We went through rather quickly (about 2 hours and yes that was quick for this museum) using Rick Steve's tour guide and at the end, Sara Beth finally saw a piece by a female painter that she had been looking for. We all rested our weary toes at a coffee shop outside of the museum and had a snack before we went back to the hotel to prepare for dinner. We had dinner tonight at La Cucina del Garga, which again was located not far from the hotel. Nothing has been far from the hotel. This hotel is in a perfect location to see everything that we have wanted to see. Our dinner was amazing, the service was wonderful and we are all back at the hotel packing up for our train ride tomorrow to Rome.

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