Monday, October 16, 2006

Florence - Part 2

Our second day in Florence started out with bus no. 12 to the Piazalle Michaelangelo, a square above the left bank of the Arno overlooking the city. It offers such a great view of Florence that there was a bride and groom having their wedding photos taken up there the day we visited, despite the fact that it was rather cloudy and grey. We hiked down from the square to the Pitti Palace, a conglomeration of exhibits and museums housed in the fortress-like former palace of the Medici rulers. Inside, we went to the costume gallery where they have preserved and displayed clothing from the 1700s to the 1940s. This was so cool - I love looking at period clothing especially from the 1800s since I can imagine it on Elizabeth Bennett or Jane Austen herself! I'm not sure if Casey was such a big fan of this gallery, but he was a good sport anyway!

Just behind the Pitti Palace are the Boboli Gardens - any great palace must have extensive grounds. I really enjoy exploring these types of well-planned gardens for royalty and this was no exception. However, I immediately noticed how this Italian garden was different from French, English and even Austrian gardens - it was not so well-kept (I think the Italians are just not that precise and they are definately relaxed) and it didn't have very much color. But, the sculpture and fountains were beautiful and we took as many side paths as we could to see what was there. One unwelcome guest in the gardens were the mosquitos and if you know me, I'm a magnet for them, so we spent less time here than I would have liked.

That afternoon we visited the inside of the Duomo and climbed it's cupola - all 463 steps to the top! From the top of the dome you can see all the red-tiled roofs of Florence and all it's churches - it's a wonderful view. You can also get an up-close view of the dome's fresco, a huge-scale, but detailed painting of heaven and hell. As we descended and were back out on the streets, the bell tower began to ring. In fact, walking around Florence you can hear bells ringing from any one of it's churches quite often.

The next day and our last day in Florence, we had reservations to see Michaelangelo's sculpture of David at the Accademia museum. It was a magnificent sculpture housed in a room built especially for it - Casey was impressed at his first view of it. The rest of the day we spent at the piazza de Santa Croce, although the basilica for which the square is named was closed all day for special services. We did some serious shopping on this day and I bought a hand-made leather purse and Casey got a hand-made leather wallet - among other things!

We enjoyed Florence for it's beauty in architecture and countryside, its food and gelato, its shopping and the small-town feel. It's truly an artful town.

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