Florence ( Firenze)
So yesterday we travelled from Venice to Florence. After a bit of a wait at the train station, where I had the chance to speak to my mum, who was very excited to get a phone call from her daughter in Venice ( even if she didn't recognise my voice initially). We caught a " fast train" and as a bit of luxury we travelled first class, which was super nice as I stitched my Lucy Boston block, whilst sipping Prosecco.
Before leaving Venice we noticed this train, on the platform next to us, ( I did go to take a better photo but one of my fellow tourists thought it was a great idea to stick her head in my photo, with a huge grin, nasty girl . . . I think there should be a tourist school, that teaches people not to photo bomb other people's photos, not to walk three abreast on narrow foot paths or when someone is standing with a camera in front of their face don't walk up and stand in front of them to take your photo , be patient and wait your turn..... Sorry rant over)
Anyway this is a real ridgy didge orient express, we could see that each couple had their own compartment with little lamps visible in their windows. What an amazing way to travel . . . .
We arrived safely in Florence and caught a taxi to our apartment , wow do those taxi drivers really have patience as they drive down streets, meant for traffic with pedestrian 's just ambling along, they don't even move out of the way . . . When the driver beeps their horn.
Anyway we settled into our lovely apartment and then went for a wander, first destination the Ponte Vecchio were I checked out all the jewellery shops . . . .
This is the view looking at the Ponte Vecchio from the Ponte Sainte Trinita. How beautiful is the sky. Gadget was saying to me, you have days to take these photos, I replied but maybe not with this beautiful blue sky . . . .
This is the view from the Ponte Vecchio
We had a lovely wander through the city, located a supermarket, to buy some essentials. Then headed out for dinner, to a restaurant recommended by a friend in Florence.
So the funny story with this is, we sat down ordered our meal in what was reputedly a non touristy restaurant in Florence. We ordered our wine and they delivered our entree. When they delivered our main meal they also provided us with a basket of bread, this wasn't unusual to us, living in France for four weeks we are now used to getting a basket of bread with our meal.
Anyway I picked up a peice of bread and munched away , I must of pulled a little bit of a face as gadget asked if the bread was not good. I replied it was crunchy and fresh but missing something . . . I replied "I don't think it has any salt in it" . . .
Any way when we did our tour today our guide explained that traditional "Tuscan bread" doesn't have salt in it, she went on to explain that many many years ago the area of Pisa,( Tuscany's long term rivals) raised the price of salt ridiculously high , the Florentine's being a very proud people refused to pay the price and hence started baking their bread without salt.
Today we did a tour of the Uffuzi Gallery and a walk along the Vasari corridor, the Uffuzi gallery houses the work of many amazing artists including Botticelli, Leonardo, Raffaello and Michelangelo.
This is the ceiling of the " corridor " of the gallery, each panel represents a different art, including poetry, painting, mathematics, architecture and the list goes on and on .... Just amazing each panel different and very interesting. The museum houses many beautiful paintings, exhibiting the progression of painting throughout the ages. What I found interesting was that they would have side by side the master and his apprentices work, for example Fillipo Lippi and Sandro Bottecelli, it was easy to see the similarities and differences.
This is a room in the Uffuzzi that was especially designed / decorated for the Medici family. On the ceiling you can see spots of white, these are thousands of mother of pearl shells inlaid in the red plaster. It is believed that the shells on the vault refer to the emblem of Bianca Cappello, the woman that the Grand Duke Medici loved for a long time, and that he married in the same period in which the Room was built. This room was recently restored and the red silk on the lower walls were created using original historical techniques.
This is Botecelli's "the birth of Venice" which is much softer in colour than I expected but was
This is Michelangelo only painting on canvas, I didn't realise that. Almost all of his paintings were fresco's. The colour and the movement in this painting was amazing and the fact that we could see his work up close was amazing.
The Vesari corridor was built by the Medici family in 1564. The Medici family were a very prominent florentine family, in fact they ruled Florence for almost two centuries, the family provided Rome with three popes and France with two queens. The grand duke Medici wanted to be able to travel safely from his offices ( the Uffuzi Gallery) to his home the Pitti Palace, there was an assassination in the early days of the Medici Dynasty which left the family very conscious of their safety. The corridor is just over a kilometre long and is built on top of shops, offices and over the shops on the Ponte Vecchio bridge. At one point it actually connects with the interior of the church Santa Felicita, this allowed the family to enter their "box " in the church unseen and hence allowed them to attend mass safely.
This is the Medici family "box" in the Santa Felicita church.
And this is the Duomo, the cathedral of Florence. We haven't been inside yet . . . That's a tour for another day. As you can see the weather wasn't so lovely this afternoon, however we had a lovely very wander around the piazza's and shops and a nice simple meal in our apartment. Never thought I would get sick of restaurant meals, but I m glad to dine in tonight.
Anyway off to bed early start in the morning