Holy smokes this time went by quickly! It seemed that I was able to keep up the blog pretty easily. And then. Florence.
It isn’t a huge city with just over 300,000 residents, but is it ever LARGE! We’d just come from Interlaken, Switzerland (with a brief stop in Milan, as I groused about previously), and I wasn’t prepared for the unbelievably dramatic change that Italy presented. It wasn’t just coming from the Alps to the city; it was coming face to face with over a thousand years of history and art and beauty. I was overwhelmed! But before I get into all that . . .
Florence was also the first place where we actually stayed in an apartment with a real kitchen, a table big enough to seat both of us – and a separate bedroom. The owners of the property were unbelievably kind and gracious, allowing us to move our reservation out one day even though it was my faux pas that got us on the wrong train, causing us to miss our connection to Florence. Then, they were also amazingly open to allowing us to extend our stay by two days. And yes, thankfully, in this apartment (unlike our hostel in Interlaken), there was a private bathroom WITH a European bidet. Gotta love the “wash, don’t wipe” traditions.
OK, now for the city. I’m not sure I can even begin to describe Florence. It’s bigger than life. The stories and the art are overpowering, boggling the mind. To see works of Michelangelo, da Vinci, Raphael and so many others is just breathtaking. And when I say breathtaking, I mean that seeing these originals literally took my breath away! I’m not usually much of a sentimental guy, but these paintings and sculptures touched me in places I didn’t know even existed. We’d seen some “modern art” in Salzburg or Vienna (can’t remember now), and I can’t imagine how it can even be called art, particularly if laid side-by-side with these masters’ works.
All right . . . our schedule in Florence looked somewhat like this:
- On Sat the 24th, we arrived, pulled one backpack (Yes, it has wheels) and carried the other to Villino Amelia, the apartment owned by our host family. After we got settled in, we walked to the market and got groceries for the next couple days’ meals. Walked back into town and just gawked at the buildings and scenery.
walking . . . and walking more
- Sunday the 25th We purchased an online audio guide and did a “guided” walking tour of the city. I can’t imagine visiting an unknown city without Apple or Google Maps! And now, without doing one of these walking tours. The live ones are surely better than the audio (app) tours, but if the live one isn’t available, the app is a really good substitute. I think this one took us on about an hour and a half stroll through the city. What did we ever do without smartphones? (Maps? I think I’ve heard of them before)
- Monday the 26th. We did a tour of the Bargello Museum. I have a dozen photos or so and won’t bore you with them, but a couple pieces really should be seen (Sherry is posting the photos of – and writing about, Donatello’s David – and a sculpture of the Apostle Peter crucified upside down). The attention to detail on any of these pieces is really quite remarkable. How an artist can start with simply a block of marble and tease out a figure that has actual emotion and stunning, intricate dimension is just amazing to me. I struggle with stick figures.
such a deal i have for you!
- Thursday the 29th we shopped and found some amazing bargains on some fantastic gifts for family