I know it's taken me a while to get this done. My enthusiasm for blogging about the trip has waned. LOL But here it is...
We started out the day heading from the hotel to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. We stopped right outside the city where there were excellent views. By the way, the weather was cold. Bitter cold.
We then headed into Florence. Our first stop was
Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno or the Academy of the Art of Drawing aka the home of the Statue of David. Our tour guide briefed us on the statue and mentioned to notice his face and the focus of his eyes. I thought, it's a statue. But I was amazed! So impressed by this sculpture of Michelangelo's. When I looked at his face/eyes I really felt as if their was a brain inside this statue, as if he was really thinking, focusing on defeating Goliath. Just amazing for marble. I ranked the Statue of David as #2 on my list of faves of the Italy trip.
The other works of Michelangelo in the Academy are unfinished. But they're still so amazing b/c they look as if the sculpture is trying to crawl out of the marble. But Michelangelo was known to have believed that every block of marble had a sculpture inside, and he had to uncover it: "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
Next we headed to the cathedral of Florence, The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore , begun in 1296 and completed in 1436. It's well-known for it's dome. The crest of Florence is a red fleur di lis...they're everywhere in Florence.
Click on the pic below so you can see the whole pic with the dome of the Cathedral, that's the bell tower that's showing
Random picture on building in same area
We then headed to the Straw Market which is an open-air market (aka outside LOL) that dates back to the 16th c. According to PPS.org, "Florentines call this market Il Porcellino (Little Pig) due to the wild boar fountain located at the market’s south side. The statue, created in 1612 by Pietro Taccas, was cast from a marble Hellenistic original that is now housed in the Uffizi Gallery. Many tourists come to rub the pig’s well-polished snout and throw a coin in the fountain. It is believed that by doing so it insures a return trip to Florence."
Charlie rubbing the snout of the pig
It was here that the trouble starte. ;) Some guy was trying to get our tour guide Stefan to stop and talk. He was hassling Stefan and he blew him off. We didn't know what was going on. So we kept walking. We headed to the Piazza della Signoria where we found the Fountain of Neptune.
But it was here that Stefan got hassled by a cop! LOL Italy is really strict about hiring their local guides. They want revenue. I mean who doesn't? LOL The guy in the Straw Market noticed that Stefan was a tour guide. When Stefan blew him off, he went to the Florence police, who tracked Stefan down to the Piazza. Stefan was so funny, though. He wasn't really stressed and just kept telling us about places to go in the area and meet him back in the piazza at 12:30p in case they arrested him. LOL The guy on the side was taking pics and the cops told him to stop, but I didn't. The police took all his info down and eventually let him go.
Next we walked to the childhood home of Michelangelo
Then we went to the Piazza di Santa Croce
In the piazza is theBasilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross). It is here that 2 famous Florentines are buried, Michelangelo and Galileo Galilei.
Tomb of Michelangelo
Tomb of Galileo
Next we grabbed some lunch (I have a few pics, but will have to edit b/c blogger is being weird and won't upload)
Then we went and met the rest of our group at the Piazza di Neptune. Okay, so not the name of the piazza but that's what I remember it as. LOL It was while we were waiting for the rest of our group that we started seeing snow flurries! Our tour guide said he had never been snowed on in Florence. Nor had he ever almost been arrested. LOL AFter we got back on the bus the next few hours it was slow going b/c the snow started coming down harder. We ended up losing 2 hours b/c of the snow. We finally got back to the parking lot at 2am. We were happy to be home!!