Florence – Day 2
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Breaking news: Today, in Florence, photography has become a contact sport!
But first things first: we graduated to the “Group 1” mentioned yesterday. This time, we know where we are going, and are not stopping for cars when crossing the street!
Since we had a reservation at 2:00 pm to see the Uffizi Gallery, we dedicated the morning to the Medici Chapels and the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
The Medici Chapels contain the tombs of the Medici family and show the close relationship they had with Michelangelo. The tomb of Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano is amazing, and the statue of the Medici Madonna is captivating!
The Basilica of San Lorenzo is, in my opinion, a must-see of Renaissance work. The paintings alone are quite amazing, including The Annunciation, by Filippo Lippi. No words can describe the two Donatello’s pulpits facing each other in the nave! I love those magnificent churches because they reflect a significant page of history and show a great reverence for the Catholic faith.
Lunch, followed by our scheduled destination: the Uffizi Gallery, containing the largest collection of Florentine artwork, from medieval to Renaissance times. With its stretched hallways and numerous dedicated rooms, I felt like having a personal encounter with the “superstars” of the era: Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Lippi… my head is spinning!
The marble sculptures were amazing but when displayed on a pedestal, short people like me only have one thing at eye level: feet! So, I decided to conduct my own study of ankles and toes! impressive!
Taking pictures at the Uffizi is a challenge because so many want to have their “best shot”, thus involving elbow fighting and pushing for a right or strategic angle… Got it!
Strolling back to Piazza della Signoria, a beautiful piazza where you can soak the sun while admiring the Neptune fountain, and the imposing statue of Giacomo I de Medici on his horse. Move past the fake David statue (the original resides at the Academia) and you are now facing the Loggia della Signoria. Once an open forum for public debate, it was later on turned into a sculpture gallery, with several copies of original statues found in the Academia.
We continued our walk to the Ponte Vecchio, where I was in a state of shock: the entire width of the bridge, on both sides, is occupied by a string of jewelry stores! Really!?! Quickly moving on to the other side, where the real jewel is on display…
We said we wouldn’t, but we did… we had the decadent Bistecca Fiorentina… and it was wonderful! Know that the meat has to be cooked “rare”, or it is a mortal sin! Trattoria Le Antiche Carozze is a quaint little place, and we enjoyed some “delicious” time there.
Exhausted but with a sense of awe…