Posts Tagged ‘florence’

We slept in today – no tours planned (except for this evening). We visited the Bargello museum, well-known for Renaissance sculpture.  It was very beautiful:

Michelangelo’s Bacchus:

Giambologna’s Flying Mercury:

In the ivory section – cool game board:

Donatello’s David in bronze:

Donatello’s David in marble:

Jason and the golden fleece:

There was a porcelain section – this piece caught my eye – pretty:

As well as an armor and weapons section:

Check out that middle helm – intimidating!

I liked that there were people sitting and drawing:

We got some shopping done today as well since it was our last chance before our full day outing tomorrow. We picked up some goodies for us as well as some souvenirs.

Wallet for me 🙂

Gloves for Chris:



Had to try an aperol spritz:

Tonight we had booked a dinner and wine tasting at a private Tuscan villa and it was fabulous:

The garden:

Olive trees:

Couple of pics of us with that view:

In the cellar for the first tasting (white blend) and bruschetta:

In the dining area for antipasto (below) and the pasta (pasta with pesto) and main course (pork, salad, potatoes) – with tastings of 2 red wines (I forgot to take pics!!) and dessert (cantucci with vin santo). It was a lovely evening and we met great people as well.



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It was a rainy day today so we moved our Tuscany tour to Tuesday instead and took it easy today.

We strolled over to the Spedale degli Innocenti just to see the outside. We went to visit the San Lorenzo church to see Donatello’s tomb.

Then we headed to the Galileo museum which was a pleasant surprise as well – very cool:




Look at the huge telescope:

Chemistry set:

I only got a night shot of the San Lorenzo church:

We went back to Za Za for dinner. This time we shared a caprese salad to start. I had the beef tenderloin with rosemary potatoes and Chris had the Tuscan white beans with sausage and sage. I had tiramisu for dessert and Chris had strawberries with lemon and sugar.

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Another early start and we were 2nd in line at the Uffizi Museum (with our Firenze card in hand). The Uffizi is the larger museum that holds great Renaissance works of art. It’s a must see for any art-lovers in Florence. Getting there early allows pics of the building without the horde of tourists. Bonus! 🙂


Birth of Venus:


When we were there, an exhibit on the restoration of Leonardo Da Vinci’s work was on display – very interesting to see his original drawings that became an unfinihsed painting:

View of the Uffizi (both sides) and the Palazzo Vecchio in the background:

Loggia dei Lanzi – outside the Uffizi:

Quick walk over to Santa Trinita church:

Next stop – Santa Croce with many well-known tombs:


The cloisters

The lucky pig – if you rub its snout, it brings you good luck:

The Mercato Vecchio:

We visited the Palazzo Vecchio:

Dante’s mask (any Dan Brown fans out there?):

Chris climbed another tower. 🙂

Great shots of Florence and the Duomo from up there:

And of Santa Croce:


Night shots of the Palazzo:

Nearby carousel:

Duomo buildings:

For lunch, we had a tagliere (board) for 2 at La Prosciutteria – yummy:

Lunch at La Prosciutteria - tagliere for 2

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After having walked past a few times already, today was the day we would visit the famous Duomo and related buildings. We got an early start (there were only a handful of people in the piazza at 8am – in a couple of hours it would be a madhouse) and visited St. John’s Baptistry first:

Next was the bell tower – or the Campanile, which Chris climbed all the way to the top – I stayed at the first platform. Lots of great pics from the various viewing points. The stairs were pretty steep but Chris was a trooper and climbed all 414 steps!

Front of the Duomo on our way to the tower:

View from the glassed-in first platform:

From from the 2nd:

One of the stairways – pretty steep:

View of Santa Croce:

View down into the tower – you can see me in the green top:

More stairs!

The very top – all caged in for safety reasons:

Gorgeous view of the Duono from the top:

These are the steps to the top. If you have claustrophobia, may not be your cup of tea:

Next we visited the Museo dell’opera which housed Duomo-related art and plans for the building. This was a  pleasant surprise as well.

The doors from St. John’s Baptistry:

Another of Michelangelo’s Pieta – this one was meant for his eventual tomb, however, he took a hammer to it because he found a flaw in the marble. It was eventually put back together and is now on display in the museum.

Many exhibits about the building of the Duomo and plans and ideas for the facade; this whole wing was very interesting.

Gorgeous and HUGE:

With me, for size perspective:

By this time, it was 10:30 and there was a line at the Duomo that we didn’t want to wait around in, so we decided to come back at end of day (and waited only 5 mins!). For now, we continued on to the Pitti Palace, which took us over the Ponte Vecchio:


Palazzo Pitti:

We visited the Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments:

View of the gardens from the window (more on those later):

(Sorry for the Game of Thrones reference – but – we found a painting of Bran in the palace!)

The Medici symbol was everywhere in Florence:

Onward to the Boboli Gardens right behind the palace. We only did a fraction of them – they are very large and our feet were killing us at this point, but we wanted to enjoy some green space.

We sat on a shaded bench and were quickly approached by several birds (looking for food most likely) – sorry buddy!

Me holding my leather purse purchase on the Ponte Vecchio. Swoon.

After this, we headed back over to the Duomo to see how the line looked and we got in very quickly! For all the intricacy of the outside, the inside is rather simple.

We wet down into the crypt underneath the church:

This wasn’t actually on display but with my awesome zoom and strategic placement between metal bars, we got a pic of some unlucky fellow:

Night shot:

For dinner we had reservations at the Club Culinario Toscana da Osvaldo and it was fabulous. We shared the fried zucchini flowers to start. I had fresh pasta with pork rib and Chris had the lamb stew. Delicious. For dessert, Chris had the tiramisu and I had a chocolate raspberry tart (it was warm! yummy).


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We took the fast train from Rome to Florence (1.5 hours, very efficient and modern) and dropped our bags off at the hotel, then off to pick up our Firenze Card and over to the Accademia to see David. 🙂

This was the view outside of our hotel 🙂 Great location down the street from the Duomo.

The Galleria dell’Accademia had some nice art, the main draw being Michelangelo’s David but there were other works of note as well.

David – 20 feet tall, much larger than expected:

View with people to provide some perspective at the size of the statue:

Next stop was the Medici Chapel – where the tombs of the Medicis are. This was a pleasant surprise – very beautiful.

The massive size of the tombs showed beyond a doubt how wealthy they were:

Restoration going on:

With me in the photo – just to provide size perspective. They are massive.

Next stop Santa Maria Novella:

I wasn’t sure that the pics of the stained glass would do it justice but they turned out pretty good!

See the line on the floor that ends to the left of the door? That’s the line of the Tropic of Capricorn (more on that in a second).

This was in the middle of the floor with a line running from it to the left side of the main door. At a certain time of year – solstice (day, hour, minute), the sun comes through the window and illuminates this sun. Neat.

The area outside the church (cloisters) was beautiful as well.

We had a very filling lunch at Za Za and were too full/tired so skipped dinner! Chris raved about his spaghetti carbonara and my ravioli with tomato and basil cream sauce was pretty tasty too!

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We’ve been planning our trip to Italy for a couple of months or so now and will be visiting Rome and Florence in the fall, with day trips to Naples/Pompei (from Rome) and Siena/San Gimignano/Chianti/Monteriggioni (from Florence).

We’ll be in Italy for 11 days, which is the sweet spot for Chris and I – we start getting antsy for home at around the ten-day mark – don’t ask me why.

Below is our itinerary and as most Europe flights from North America, we’ll be taking an overnight flight which has us landing in Rome midday local time. I’m unable to sleep on a plane but try to stay awake until night-time (local time) to adjust to local time as quickly as possible.

We’ve booked our hotels, as well as the tours linked below. We’ll be buying the Roma Pass (unlimited public transportation and free entry to 2 museums) and the Firenze card (free entry to museums).

  • Day 1: Arrive in Rome: Walk/Explore, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps.
  • Day 2:
    • AM: Vatican tour (skip the line)  for Vatican museums, St. Peter’s and Sistine Chapel
    • PM: Castel Sant’Angelo
    • 5:30pm: Roman Food Tour – progressive tour that stops in various spots in Rome for food and wine tastings.
  • Day 3: Day trip to Naples and Pompei – tour
  • Day 4:
    • AM: Ancient Rome and Colosseum tour (skip the line/beat the crowds)
    • PM: Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini (with all the “old” stuff planned, this looked like a cool option for something different – it combines ruins with virtual recreation to show what a roman villa would have looked like, as well as a basilica and WW2 bunker).
  • Day 5:
    • Rome to Florence by train
    • AM: Accademia museum
    • PM: Santa Maria Novella church and museum
  • Day 6:
    • AM: Duomo, Baptistery, Campanile (Bell Tower)
    • PM: Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens (probably have lunch in the gardens)
  • Day 7: Day trip to Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti (lunch at Tuscan winery), Monteriggioni midieval fortress
  • Day 8:
    • AM: UIffizi Gallery
    • PM: Palazzo Vecchio, Mercato del Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Trinita, Loggia del Lanzi, Santa Croce
  • Day 9: Free time in Florence for shopping, exploring, and visiting anything we ran out of time (or energy) to visit previously.
  • Day 10: Free time in Florence
  • Day 11: Depart

So excited to see the art and ruins, eat amazing food, drink fabulous wine and get lost in the side streets of Roma and Firenze. Ciao!! 🙂



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