We arrived in Florence at the Santa Maria Novella station on the afternoon of our sixth day in Italy. We made the short walk to our awesome (in my opinion) hotel, the Garibaldi Blu. The superhero theme thrilled S to no end, our room was pretty nice and the location was awesome.
After lunch at one of the sunny cafes downstairs, we took a short nap and went out for the evening, We walked to the famous Duomo, and started the Renaissance Walk from the Rick Steves Audio Europe app.
We ambled around this imposing ancient cathedral, the architectural wonder that is Brunelleschi’s dome and admired its gorgeous green, white and pink facade glowing in the twilight.
We continued on to the skillfully Baptistery and its carved bronze doors by Ghiberti.
As we strolled through the lovely historical pedestrian only street, we passed some yummy looking gelato stores, including this liquid chocolate wall.
It took a lot of self-control to not stick my tongue directly under it 😛
We ended up at Piazza della Signoria and stood there taking in the history around this spectacular square, from Loggia dei Lanzi to Palazzo Vecchio.
We strolled on along the river to the magical place that is the Ponte Vecchio bridge, complete with high end-shops in this antique setting, a street musician singing romantic songs, and the lights twinkling and reflecting in the river and making it sparkle.
The next day started with the popular Accademia gallery (advance reservations highly recommended, although of course a street musician serenades you while you wait in line).
And of course, the much-awaited Statue of David. Absolutely nothing comes close the detailed perfection of this sculpture. S, who isn’t too keen on museums and galleries (and wanted to bring a pair of pants for David :|), was blown away by this majestic piece of work, and took about a gazillion pictures from every possible angle.
As I stood admiring the roughly hewn Prisoners statues, and the many other great and timeless pieces of art around me, it felt like Michelangelo pretty much built this entire city!
Another interesting room was a hall full sculpture busts, which are the final exam projects of the art school attached to the gallery, some hidden gems and future geniuses to be found here in the future for sure!
We followed up our Accademia visit by wandering around the city for a bit until we reached another bridge parallel to Ponte Vecchio, where a long rally of people with balloons and other decorations showed up, followed by the press, chanting something in Italian that I couldn’t understand. I started talking to one the ladies running the show, and what looked like a fancy birthday celebration was actually a group of concerned citizens protesting against some government school policies.
After lunch at Pit Stop (super pastas, again) and a short rest, we spent the afternoon at the Uffizi surrounded by Botticelli’s Venus, Da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi and many more spectacular works of art.
That evening, we went to Piazzale Michelangelo, for an elevated evening view of the city, where S went shutter happy and I sat listening to tourists, students and backpackers chatter and sing around me and absorbing the long incredible history and culture of the birthplace of Renaissance.
It was our final night in Firenze, the next morning we were taking the train to Rome!