Technically, I know that I’ve only been going since 8 am (it’s 9:45pm as I write this), but it feels like a week’s worth of things got packed into one extremely long day.
Today was my day of booked tours and events. Most of the day was taken up by a ‘Best of Florence style tour, hitting the major museums and sites. The tour operator was very well organized, and our guides were two very charming ladies with art history backgrounds. Plus, they gave us little one way radios and headsets so we didn’t have to cluster around the guide to hear what she was saying. SUPER helpful!
We started off at the Accademia Gallery to see Florence’s most well-known piece of sculpture, The David by Michelangelo. Frederica (guide #1), took us in to see some of the pre-Renaissance paintings as well as one of the other famous sculptures, The Rape of the Sabine Woman. Lovely piece, and apparently was one of the earliest pieces of baroque art. She didn’t let us linger there, but instead took us to the Michelangelo section. We looked at some of his unfinished pieces that were supposed to adorn the very large tomb of a very snobby pope, and then on to the star of the show.
Beautiful work, and it’s amazing the amount of detail Michelangelo was able to show. They veins in his arms and hands are so very delicate. Apparently he cut up a lot of corpses to learn that much about anatomy. No judgement. Everyone needs a hobby.
After the Accademia, we headed down to Il Duomo. We learned about this history of the building, and how the Florentines side-eye some of the decorative choices made by some of the architects. Also, the dome was pretty much a wonder of the world when it was built. She suggested that we climb up and look, but my calves actually cried out in pain at the thought.
Inside of the cathedral is actually plain in a way. While the marble floors are incredibly ornate, but the walls are sparsely decorated. I wish I’d gotten a phone pic of the dome, but that will have to wait until I download the pics from the good camera. The one camera pic I did get was of the clock in the cathedral, created by Paolo Uccello. Unlike most clocks, it is a 24 hour clock. And then hands (when the clock is working), run anti-clockwise.
After the Duomo, we wound our way down to the Piazza della Republica, and then down to the Piazza della Signorio. There is a replica of The David here, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, next to the Uffizi Gallery. David was important to the Florentines, as apparently he was their way of telling their enemies not to mess with them. Somewhat along the lines of ‘We are wee but mighty, and we will #(*#$ you up if you come for us. But in Italian, so it sounds much classier. Funnily enough, one of the other large statues in that Piazza is the one of Neptune, centered in a fountain (go figure). Apparently the statue was mocked as being old and fat, while David was all Mr. Perfect. Here, Neptune has mastered the bitchy side-eye.
By this time, my body was ready for fuel and rest, so we luckily had a nice long lunch break.
After lunch, we hit the Uffizi Gallery. I made a couple of friends that morning (Lisa and Nancy, a daughter and mom travelling together), and Nancy (the mom) and I commiserated that while we were TOTALLY interested in the stuff that the guide was saying, sitting was kinda cool too. Especially since the alternative was watching moody teenage artists taking selfies in front of the naked statues, trying to look edgy. We did get to see some lovely Botticellis, and more works by Michelangelo, which was nice. No camera pics of those, so you’ll have to wait.
At that point, I just wanted coffee and a nap, but I had one more big event planned this evening, so I wandered around until 6pm, when I met up with my group for one of the most fun things I’ve done while travelling, a cooking class!
This course was for all ages, and covered homemade pizza and gelato. Mmmm. Gelato.
It was a great group, with several families and several other single traveling ladies. I ended up at a table with a completely awesome mom and her two daughters–Rebecca, Maddie, and Abbie. We had a great time, and ended up hanging out after the class. But now, the important stuff. PIZZA!
And then the finished product, paired with an earlier batch.
And finally, I was marked as reasonably proficient at making pizza dough and holding the bowl while Chef Alain scooped out the chocolate-y goodness.
It was a fun day, but I am beyond exhausted. I ache in places I shouldn’t ache. BUT! It was totally worth it. Tomorrow I bit fair Florence goodbye and head to Rome. It’s been fun, and I very much hope to come back someday!