Friday, March 9, 2012

Firenze (aka Florence) Day One

03/06, Tuesday

It is under two hours to reach Florence from Chiusi and we find a coffee, a pastry and a toilet first thing. Then we see the tourist information and it is one of the best that we have found to date. Lots of maps, information and directions. Almost rivals Sergio !

Our first stop is the church of Santa Maria Novella, which is an example of Romansque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque all together.Lots of stripes, arches, shapes and scrolls, with a 330 foot nave. Since we are so old we got in free.

We have been to so many museums and churches in the last month, that I have finally gotten tired of viewing the same scenes depicted by different artists. Now, when we wander among grand and "great" artwork, I look for those that have an interesting story. These are some I found in the Pitti Palace Palentine Gallery.
A joke played on parish priest Arlotto
Noah, drunk being derided by his son Cam
Hercules restores a dead woman Alcestis to her husband Admetus
Venus combing lice from the hair of Cupid
Rereading them now, they don't sound very funny, but the artists evidently had a sense of humor.

We walked over the Ponte de Vecchio to cross the Arno River to reach the Pitti. The bridge is well-known for the shops that occupy both sides making it a shopping experience, that is, if you are in the market for gold and silver baubles, and diamonds. These shops were originally butchers. The meat business must not be in vogue anymore, but diamonds are still a girls best friend.

Oh, and we stopped by the Duomo. Repeats of the same scenes we've seen before except Saint Lucy with a knife stuck in her neck, carrying her eye balls on a plate after having extracting them herself. The Duomo's architectural exterior design is noteworthy. The interior dome painting evidently inspired Michelangelo's work in St.Peters. The Duomo was built with a big hole for a dome, but the technology didn't exist yet to build one. Guess they felt someone would stand up to the challenge and finally Filippo Brunneleschi, a local architect, did but it took 14 years to build.

The temp in Florence is much cooler than Chiusi; we resorted to gloves. Rain was predicted, but didn't arrive until we were in bed.

We arrived in Fiesole by bus, about 20 minutes outside of Florence high on a hill overlooking the city. Unfortunately, we couldn't find our host at the B&B for almost 1/2 hour, and it's only B, not &B. He recommended a nice family-run restaurant a short walk away for dinner.

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