I understand now. Florence is so much more than a city. The past of this small community on the banks of the Arno is forever intertwined with the invention and advancement of all mankind. The Medici were essentially the world's first modern traders and bankers. The Renaissance began here, which advanced all forms of intellectual inquiry and creation. It is the birthplace of so much, and yet it now just simply exists as this quiet town in the Tuscan hills. It forges on ahead with shops full of artisans, with architecture that yanks at your interest with each chisel, and with art that will never be eclipsed, ever. It has gracefully come down from its apogee unapologetic and ready to just be. Placing itself firmly and deeply into my heart as one of the most beautiful places that I have ever fallen in love with was no task at all for this stunner. It simply is what Florence does.
Early in the AM, we headed out for the Galleria delgi Uffizi, which houses
the largest collection of Renaissance art. This is in the plaza outside.
Also outside the Uffizi
Pavement still damp from evening showers.
Taking the stairs up to the Uffizi
You are not allowed to take pics in the Uffizi, and as much as I wanted to man up and snap a shot
of The Birth of Venus, I had yet to grow a pair in this environment. This was my first forbidden
picture of the day, included only because it was a big step in the right direction of my new photography mantra of "shoot now, deal with the screaming Italian later"
Another Shot of inside the Uffizi, All of the ceilings are full with ornate paintings. Kristin looks
I wish I could have produced a better picture, but this lady flipped out on me right as I raised my camera.
Tower on Piazza della Signoria
A fountain on the roof of the Uffizi
A quiet Florence street
A meat shop that we stopped by on our way to Brunelleschi's Duomo
A lot FULL of mopeds
For a sense of scale, check out that guy. The duomo is immense. It took 150 years to
complete, and was started in the 13th(!) century
The Campanile, which is the cathedral's bell tower
Inside the Duomo
We had to climb 463 steps to the top and 463 back down. This was a wide stretch. The
spiraling stretches were to cramped to photo.
Inside the Duomo at the top, took balls to paint this high
The final stretch of stairs
View from the top, definitely worth the struggle
A nice picture of the Campanile
Hills of Tuscany in the distance
No making fun of my camera bag
Just a few more, I swear. We stayed up at the top of the dome for about 30 minutes. It was seriously
just absolutely breathtaking.
A road grows smaller
Moments before the descent
The duomo ground floor. It was surprisingly quite empty, except for the occasional Japanese tour group.
The original entrance
Top of dome
So, how crazy are we? After climbing to the top of the duomo, we decided
to punish ourselves further and climbed to the top of the Campanile, all 420
It gave up a great view
Florence is so small that you can see where all you have been. We were standing up here tracking our path.
I never get tired of these Florentine panoramas, but you might so..
I realized around this point that I lost my walking stick. Trying to ask the duomo
guards for help was like begging for a hundred from a homeless man, just not happening.
Fresh Mozz, lettuce, tomato (MLT)
A beast of some kind
A mustachioed knocker
Next on our agenda was to travel by foot to the Galleria dell'Accademia, which houses...
The most perfect piece of art ever created
After David, we headed off to see my favorite work of art in the world
But first, drinks at a Ben and Jerry's...
I loved this carousel, it was very Renaissance-ish
The headband kept my ears warm
Kristin at a market
Now this was awesome, we found a little glove shop full of gloves of every color and design. They looked at our hands and eyeballed our sizes perfectly, and than taught us how to properly put gloves on. It was a lot cooler than it sounds. We both bought cashmere lined gloves that are softer than the slightest whisper.
The other side of the Arno
We were taking the long way to Santa Maria
Just some random door
We gad to check a map for this one, middle road it is
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella
There it is. My favorite painting in the world. I once wrote a 10 page paper about this exact painting, painted on this exact wall, almost 600 years ago. If this thing was portable and could be bought and sold at auction, then it would be one of those top 5 art pieces in the world. Since monetary value really
determines how ubiquitous a painting seems in the art world, and this particular masterpiece cannot be sold, it just lives out a quiet life here in Florence. Masaccio painted it, and it basically was the first incidence of Renaissance art.
Pictures in here, also not allowed, and my shutter seemed really loud.
One more, crazy seeing this thing in person. The only other painting that made my heart speed up like this was Picasso's Guernica in Madrid.
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella
I look ridiculous
We stopped for Gelato
She will be pissed when she finds out I took this sneak shot
Cool bar. We are generally only eating at bars because it is good, quick, and cheap.
Bars are different here.
Another gorgeous building
Ponte Santa Trinita
A corner store
A tasty shop
Totally running out of internet in a few minutes. I had to make haste.