The train ride took about 3 hours. We checked into the cutest Airbnb, with its vaulted brick ceiling and clear glassarchways. We wanted to love this place, and did , until the heat turned off , the power failed, and the neighbor went crazy; it sounded like his teen kid was tied to a chair at midnight and left to cry out and babble incoherently all night; it was the bouncing of the chair that first woke everyone and then the volume increased; May or may not have been drugs or mental illness, just saying. We demanded and got a refund.
Enough of that nonsense. We enjoyed Florence, founded by Julius Caesar around 59 BC. Janet out did herself with planning this stop for the kids. We planned only 2 days in Florence. She pre-purchased 3 guided tours of the major sites within the city. We used “Viva Art Tours”; all three guides were outstanding. First stop was at the “Galleria Degli Uffizi”. This valuable art collection was bequeathed in 1743 to the city by the super rich“Medici Family” that governed the city for 3 centuries. This is apparently the greatest collection of “Italian Renaissance” art in the world. Our guide was an art expert and gave us interesting backstories about the art presented. Three paintings of note for laypersons like us are: Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (Venus on half shell), Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci, and Holy Family by Michelangelo. Apparently, the patron of the Holy Family did not like the painting and only offered half price; Michelangelo blew him off and after negotiations the painting was sold for double the original price! Here are some photos.
Our second tour that day was at the “Galleria deli Accademia”. The mission was to see the most famous sculpture in the world, Michelangelo’s DAVID; a nude warrior carved from a large single block of marble ( that before had been worked on by two lesser sculptors). This is the second time we saw this magnificent creation, but it still is so beautifully impressive and powerful. Our kids were really taken aback by its size and simple splendor; though art experts diagnose each and every shape and carving stroke, as told by our guide. She was very interesting and opinionated. We found out from her in a friendly way that many of the things we had done were too tourist like and wrong and that we should have made other choices. We ignored all of it except the suggested restaurant for dinner. That was a great tip. See our David pics below and one of his unfinished works
We hung out in the museum until after closing time gazing at David's furrowed brow. We then headed out to the suggested restaurant for an upscale traditional Italian dinner. We had a great combination of starters, pasta, salads, desserts, and wine. Funny thing, our waiter was from Albania, not Italy, and in a few weeks he was traveling to see his sister who lives in Troy, Michigan.
The next day we did a morning walking tour for the city sights. As well as the iconic landmark of the great Gothic Duomo and its Battistero (separate Baptism building) officially known as Cathedral of St. Mary of the Flower, we walked the many narrow streets, second level walkways of the wealthy, Plazas, and foot bridges lined with commercial shops; very clever urban planning. Most of the tour dealt with discussing the influence of the Medici Family and then the French Lorraine family which also ruled, and subsequent reconstruction necessitated by WW II destruction. The large Cathedral, with green and white marble exterior, is outstanding, but the interior is unexpectedly plain. We later finished the day on our own by viewing the historic science and technology museum, which had been renamed with the fancier moniker of “ Galileo Museum. It was an interesting walk back in time of early technology and way off scientific theories. We really liked what Florence had to offer.
Early the next morning we hopped on a train to Venice. Romance ahead!