Saturday, August 17, 2013

Firenze non e lontano (Florence isn't far...) di prendere la strada giusta. Luckily we did take the right road-- and the right train. 
Our hotel was one block from the famous Duomo. We arrived around noon on Saturday, dropped off our bags at the desk, and then ate lunch at Mr. Pizza on the square (not to be confused with the Korean chain of the same name that has "the pizza designed exclusively for women"). Then we had gelato while standing in the long (but fast-moving) line to see the Duomo. 
The Duomo was beautiful, especially the interior.

It was initially hard for me to get over the ornate pink and green marble facade (added in the late 1800's to the exterior). Maybe pastel churches were a thing then. 
We saw the underground museum and ruins beneath the current Duomo (cathedral) showing some of the foundation of the even older previous Duomo. (You think the current building from 1436 is old?-- ha, that's modern!)
Then we climbed over 400 steps up the Campanile so we could get this fantastic view. 
Okay, maybe I was not so fabulous with the crazy windy-day hat hair. But the city looked amazing.  
We had a 4:00 pm appointment at the Accademia, home of Michelangelo's David. The Accademia is actually a fairly small museum. The David is huge-- larger than life-- and the way i is placed at the end of a hallway under a dome just emphasizes its grandeur. My favorite parts of the work were the hands (which are too large for the body-- originally the statue was to be placed on a roof and viewed from below) and the arms. The amount of detail was amazing. You could even see the "veins" in the lifelike marble. 

The gallery also had unfinished versions of Michelangelo's The Prisoners. The statues were riveting-- filled with power and emotion, even unfinished. It was doubly cool because Megan and I saw a finished version of the statue at the Louvre earlier in our trip. 

We finished the gallery faster than I expected. We were near the spot where we had a dinner reservation, but we still had some time to kill before dinner. We were exhausted, hot and worn out. 
So we surrendered to the exhaustion. We went to a nearby park, laid down and fell asleep in some grass in the shade. Dave gallantly kept watch over our stuff while Megan and I snoozed and woke us up when it was time for dinner. 
Dave doing his back exercises, enjoying the shade. 
My sleepy/happy place in Florence. 
We had dinner at the Trattoria Za Za. They had many items that were offered "Za Za style." When we asked the waiter what this meant he said, "Baked." 

Megan with her favorite: Gnocchi with Gorgonzola. 
Fettuccine with walnut sauce. Yum!
Dave with salad, "Vegetables Za Za style," and -- of course-- French fries. 
Feeling much refreshed, we went back to our apartment and went to be early. 

If I am being honest, Florence and I had a hard time bonding at first. I loved the views of the city, but not so much being in the city itself. It was blisteringly hot and dry. I was tired from 10 days of traveling. And I found myself in a city full of museums and galleries at a point where I was exhausted and just about cultured out. The nap definitely helped. Dinner even more so. Maybe if you are having trouble bonding with someone or something the solution is simple: sleep and food. 

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