Florence is Delicious!
In every sense of the word , Florence truly is delicious. The food, the people, the architecture, the shopping, and everything Florence has to offer. To say I ate my way through Italy is an understatement! Usually when I travel, I cook a lot but not in Italy. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, we were always planning our next meal!
We took the express train from Rome to Florence which took approximately 2 1/2 hours. I had Archie on my lap who immediately adopted the boy who was sitting next to me leaning his head in his lap.
He was as exhausted as we were after the busy time in Rome but we were too excited to even think about rest.
Our Airbnb was in a perfect location on the other side of the Arno River away from all the tourist activity.
Florence is busy every day of the year but the summer can be overwhelming with the heat and all the tourist. Again I repeat, do not plan your vacation to Italy in July and August! My friend, Michele was in Florence in June and said it was hot and crowded at that time as well.
The apartment we stayed in was modern, clean, quiet, and had everything we needed. An air conditioner in each bedroom, plenty of hot water for the shower, nice towels and sheets with very comfortable beds.
I was happy to find a place to return to whenever I visit Florence in the future.
Luckily I had made reservations at three different restaurants since it was near impossible to get into one at night without a long wait. A couple of them I had been to before on previous trips to Florence so I knew they were good.
First was Osteria Cingiahle Bianco (the White Boar), where I had first been 20 years ago on my first trip to Florence. I had an amazing filet mignon that practically melted in my mouth with roasted potatoes and a delicious burgundy sauce.
Next was Natalino Restaurant, an Italian favorite where I had a delicious pistachio pesto ravioli stuffed with cheese. Then a new restaurant my friend Michele recommended called Santarosa Bistrot, which was a beautiful outdoor patio restaurant set in a park down the street from our apartment.
I don't think it's possible to get a bad meal in Italy from my experience. Even the small pizza shops were delicious.
With Archie in the lead, we set out to explore the city. I have been to Florence a couple of times but Steve, my friend from Palm Springs, had never been. I took him on a walking tour of the areas and attractions I knew.
We walked over the Ponte Vecchio
to the magnificent Duomo in the center of town.
I showed him the beautiful golden doors of the Baptistery. Michelangelo called these doors the Gate to Paradise. It took Lorenzo Ghiberti 27 years to complete these bronze and gold early Renaissance masterpieces.
We walked past the Uffizi Gallery and the powerful statues outside in the central square.
It was so crowded with tourists and hot that we didn't spend much time walking the sites. The lines to get into many attractions were wrapped around the buildings.
We also saw the Basilica Di Santa Croce. This is the burial place for Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and the composer, Rossini. The Basilica is often referred to as the Temple of the Italian Glories because of these famous men.
I bought a new wallet from my favorite little leather shop owned by Roberto called Pelletteria del Corso. It's a great little shop that sells handmade leather products.
Another favorite place of mine is the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. It is not a pharmacy selling medicine but it is sometimes described as the oldest pharmacy in the world. It was established in 1612 by Dominican monks who made perfumes, potpourri, toiletries, medicinal balms and herbal teas. It's my favorite store in Florence because it is so beautiful. The ceilings rival the Sistine chapel and their perfumes and soaps are one of a kind.
Beside planning our day around eating and trying every gelato in the city,
you cannot go to Florence without visiting the Galleria Del Academia and the Galleria Degli Uffizi. These museums house some of the most famous art in the world. It is absolutely necessary to book tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. Steve was lucky enough to obtain two VIP tickets for both places so we didn't have to wait in line.
Our first stop was the Academia to view Michelangelo's statue of David. The statue of David was carved from a single block of marble in the years 1501 to the 1504 and is 17 feet tall. I love the setting of this statue as you walk through a gallery getting closer and closer.
The thought of Michelangelo carving the statue out of one piece of stone and then moving it to where it was originally displayed is astounding to me. It is truly a masterpiece and a magnificent piece of art.
The Uffizi Gallery is home of some of the worlds most famous Renaissance art pieces.
Some of my favorite pieces in this museum are The Birth of Venus by Botticelli. Completed in 1485, it is the symbol of the birth of love which is the driving force of life. It symbolizes the love and beauty that prevailed in Florence during the Medici dynasty.
Another favorite is the Angel Playing the Lute by Horacio Florentino from 1495,
Medusa by Caravaggio, which is one of his most controversial pieces of art from 1598.
Doni Tondo which means the holy family was painted by Michelangelo and is the only panel painting that exists by Michelangelo. It is said he began painting the Sistine chapel after painting this panel.
There is a room called Tribunal Degli Uffizi which is a museum within the museum. It is home to the Medici family's personal art collection of statues, cameos, precious stones, jewels, scientific instruments, bronzes and portraits of the family.
Some other beautiful paintings are the Annunciation, by Botticelli,
The Adoration of the Magi by Gentile da Fabriano,
and Madonna and Child With Two Angels by Filippo Lippi, 1460.
There is so much to discover and explore in Florence but it was time for our next adventure, Sorrento.