Friday, April 13, 2012

When in Florence...Day 8 in Italy

Well, it had come to our final day in Italy.  We got up and had another great breakfast at the Strozzi Palace, and then headed to the Uffizi Gallery for a 9:00 am reservation.

Just in case you were wondering- Jordan is doing an Emergen-C.  Its what got us through this trip I'm pretty sure.  We had one every morning.

At the Uffizi, we saw beautiful paintings by Giotto, Leonardo, Raphael, Caravaggio, Michaelangelo, and Botticelli.  Its a pretty small museum, so we were through it pretty fast.  There were no pictures allowed, but here are some of the most notable works we saw that I liked.

Filippo Lippi, Madonna and Child with Angels

Leonardo, Annunciation
Botticelli, Birth of Venus; Jordan just listened to a course on mythology, and he says the real story isn't quite so, um sweet.

Botticelli, Allegory of Spring: I once did a ballet piece entitled "The Three Graces"--and there they are on the left!
Once we were through the museum, we did take some pictures on the terrace of the Uffizi.  

the Palazzo Vecchio

Then, we went to the courtyard and took pictures of some of Jordan's favorite Ninja turtles, I mean, famous Italians.

Afterwards, we went to the Duomo and actually went inside.  In comparison, it was pretty bare, but still had some beautiful artwork.

I couldn't figure this clock out, but it looks cool!

The inside of the Duomo

Looking into the dome

"Just look at that big ole Duomo!!!"

After the Duomo, we went back to the hotel for a nap and packing, since our flight left Florence at 7:20 am the next morning.  It was great, because we didn't feel the need to be out and about any more and a nap was much needed :)  That evening, we went out for a fancy dinner at Osteria del Porcellio, at the recommendation of the concierge.  It was delicious and candle-lit.  A perfect final meal in Florence.

But, I decided it was important to have a pre-nap cannoli.

Holy Cannoli!!!

in the Piazza della Repubblica

There also happened to be a Ferrari store right by our hotel....

 After dinner and gelato, we decided to take one more walk to the Ponte Vecchio before we said goodbye to Italy.  Standing with Jordan on this beautiful bridge, after a dream week in Italy, I couldn't help but get a little teary.  My life is wonderful and I am so grateful we were able to take this trip together!!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

When in Florence...Day 7 in Italy

So....the one thing about Europe--the hotels aren't really great at masking sound.  I sleep with earplugs anyway, but poor Jordan was up most of Wednesday night due to a lady having a multi-hour breakdown above us.  Based on what he heard, some VERY disturbing things can happen to you when you are drunk.  Another reason I am glad that I don't.  :)

Anyway, we got up the next morning to a DELICIOUS breakfast and decided to head to both the Mercato Centrale (where all the locals get their groceries fresh) and the famous San Lorenzo market, the one with all the leather :)  Warning:  some of these pictures can get a little graphic if you have a sensitive stomach when it comes to strange food.


Cheese.................... :)

Mountains of Mushrooms!!!

Can you guess?

Yep.  It's what you think it is.
We did some shopping for souvenirs in both markets--I got a beautiful scarf and Jordan a wonderful tie.

We ate lunch and stopped by the hotel to drop off our purchases and then got on a bus to PISA!!  Yep, we had booked a half-day tour to see the Leaning Tower.  Again, beautiful Tuscan countryside awaited us.


The Campo dei Miracoli, or Field of Miracles

The Largest Baptistry in Italy at 180 feet tall.
 Interestingly, our tour guide gave us some information about this extremely old baptistry--in the very early days of Catholicism.  He said, that curiously, back then, Catholics didn't baptize babies, but "young lads," and that they weren't sprinkled, but fully immersed.  Then they were walked into the neighboring cathedral to be confirmed.  Hmmm.  Curious, indeed :)

Inside the Cathedral, also called the Duomo, designed by Giovanni Pisano.  The inside suffered a fire long ago, but has been restored.   Its nave (320 ft) was the longest one in Christendom when it was built in 1063.

Beautiful, gold-gilded ceiling.

This pulpit has four hundred intricately carved figures, by Pisano.  The female figures in the center represent Faith, Hope and Charity.

The beautiful painting on the inside of the dome.

This is the mummified body of Pisa's patron saint, St. Ranieri.
After our tour of the cathedral, we had another half hour to wander the field, eat gelato, see the Camposanto Cemetery (unfortunately, no pics), and of course, take some very silly pictures :)

By the way, that's my pretty scarf, but you can't really see the pretty part :)

Afterwards, we took the hour and a half bus ride back to Florence, where we found a great self-service cafeteria called Ristorante Leonardo.  It was cafeteria style.  Actually, some really delicious pasta and great panna cotta.  Who says good food can't be cheap?  :)

One day left.