This was really our first full day in Florence, but as you could see from the last post, we did a good job of fitting a lot in once we arrived.
Here is the hotel breakfast. It was much smaller than the other location, but there were still some good options just to have a little something before heading out for sightseeing.
First up, we had a reservation for La Accademmia to see Michelangelo's David statue. There can be long lines for these sights, so we had our hotel make a reservation for us. This added 4 euro to the museum price, but when it saves time, it can be worth it. If you have more than just a few days (we had 2 full and 2 half) it might be better to save some money and just wait in line. Unfortunately, we were there so early there wasn't much of a line, and we probably could have saved on the reservation charge. On the other hand, we were only there that early because that was the time the hotel made our reservation for. My guess is that any later would have been more of a line, and if we did this on our own, we would have been waiting then.
On the way we passed by the Duomo, which is a large church in Florence, with a great big dome. More on that later.
Here is the gallery with the statue, and I am sure everyone is familiar with what this looks like, but if not, I will show a replica picture later, as we could not take photos inside. We had some fun sitting behind the statue and watching the looks on people's faces as they approached, well, you know what...David!
Right afterwards, I found myself very hungry. We had some time, so we stopped in to this cafe, which advertised American breakfast. Italian breakfast was more like little sandwiches, and often for lunch I would have a tomato and cheese sandwich, so I did not want to keep eating the same thing. Plus, I really like eggs.
While I waited for my eggs, I enjoyed a chocolate croissant and a cappuccino. This was all part of the price for the American breakfast special.
I was pleased when the platter arrived. Sometimes, in other countries, the eggs are pretty runny, which I do not entirely mind, but I would rather be harder.
Now, since we passed the Duomo on the way to David, it would make sense that we passed it again on the way back. It was such a fun building to take pictures of, that I kept taking them each time we walked by, or at least up until the last day.
For some reason there were various historic buildings around town, open to the public and free to view. It was only the courtyards, but they were still open. This is inside one of them.
Often times we would walk by a restaurant or cafe and I would just take pictures of the good looking food in the windows. This was one of those times. Check out those pizzas:
We decided to stop for lunch at a restaurant in the Piazza Santa Croce. There were a few options, but we picked Finisterrae, as they had a large pizza menu to pick from.
Obviously, we both ordered pizza. Ryan ordered on that was quartered off, and I think it was a 4 seasons, however, I always think of that pizza as vegetarian since where I worked in high school, the 4 seasons pizza only had veggies. However, since this is in 4 sections, I really think this is called a 4 seasons.
I had a veggie pizza, with mushrooms and olives.
As with the rest of Italy that we had seen, I love the architecture and the feel of "oldness" and history as you walk through the streets. As a result, I too way too many pictures.
Alas, here is the replica of David. Nowhere near as impressive as the original. Seriously, it seems Michelangelo had a major skill when sculpting the male body. It seems his females were often very manly as well. I suppose if you are good at something, stick with it.
This replica stands where the original David was before being moved inside for safe keeping. This is in the Piazza della Signoria, just outside the Palazzo (Palace) Vecchio, and next to the Uffizi Also in this square, since the Uffizi is here, there are many statues placed here outside.
Here is the Piazza della Signoria, with tons of people hanging around.
This is the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio. I love how this looks. Very much like a castle.
Finally, it was our scheduled time for the Uffizi. Again, it was an extra 4 Euro for the reservation, per person, but this time seemed worth it since there was about a 45 minute wait to purchase tickets.
No surprise that pictures were not allowed to be taken inside. We went through the museum with an audioguide. They have come up with a great way to have 2 people use 1 machine and save some money. Often it was 5 euro for one, and then 8 euro to add a head set. This is a great idea in theory. The only trouble was that early on, Ryan and I discovered this does not work for two people with significant differences in height (he is over a foot taller than me), and both of like to move around freely, so it was not the most comfortable situation and resulted in more frustration than anything else. As soon as he would take a step, the head set out come out of my ears, mostly because of the height difference. So, we sucked it up, and decided on two. However, if you can managed to remained attached at the hip, this is a great way to both hear the information and save some money. I don't doubt that others have found it as difficult to use as we had.
Did someone say gelato? Yes, this was the last day of the Firenze Gelato Festival. We still had samples available on our gelato card, so we walked back over to Pitti Palace and all of the gelato vendors, and got a few samples. It was nice that the one card could be used to get two samples at a time. At least we were able to share this card. As I said in the previous post, I had a better picture of the sample size. Here it is:
While it wasn't a huge amount, this was well worth the 1 euro a "sample", especially because this is some of the best gelato you will find anywhere (and by anywhere, I mean various forms of ice cream worldwide). Some places also piled the gelato on more than others.
We walked back to the room, which was not the far away at all. We really were surprised how close together everything was. The map made it seem like there may be more distance, but in reality, things were quite close. It helped that our hotel was very centrally located. As we were still wandering around, I stopped to rub the pigs nose for good luck. People from all over the world do this, so this pig has an exceptionally shiny nose. It was tough to get in and pose with the pig because so many people were crowding around, so I am glad that I managed to get just this one random guy in behind me.
It wasn't quite time for dinner, so we stopped at a bar/restaurant in the Piazza della Repubblica, which is where our hotel was located. Ryan had a beer, but I ordered a much prettier vodka and lime juice drink.
It seems Italians are into bar snacks too, as we were served these dishes of salty treats to enjoy with our beverages.
Finally, after a short rest, it was dinner time. We again selected a restaurant from the Rick Steves guidebook. This was called Trattoria 13 Gobbi, which means 13 hunchbacks. Luckily, we were able to make a reservation last minute. We found many places would still take reservations just as dinner service was getting started, and this helped ensure we were seated in a timely fashion, or that we even got a table at all. In reality, there are so many restaurants that you will alway find something, but the busier places you may only be able to get into if you go very early, very late, or make a reservation.
I found this place to be very cute inside. I liked that there was a mix between Italians and other tourists.
Of course the meal started with bread.
Ryan and I were really into the idea of the antipasto, primi piatti, and secondi piatti. Basically, and appetizer, first course and then second course. The first course is a pasta dish. The second course is a meat, fish or other main course, and not usually served with a side dish, as you would have likely had one already. So we started with bruschetta.
Ryan had spaghetti with tomato sauce (pomodoro).
I had tagliatelle with mushrooms. Boy was this a delicious dish!
It should be no surprise that we decided to split the eggplant parmesan for the secondi piatti. At no point in time were we about to both order 2 courses...we always split one. We had no desire to skimp on trying as many foods as we could.
It was a delicious meal, so we decided to sit a little afterwards and enjoy a cappuccino.
Two final pictures to leave you with. First, this is a street sign, and I love that it was "decorated" with a heart to look like this. There was also another that was the single bar line (common in Europe, just - on the sign) and a man positioned as if he were picking it up. It was so cute!
Last, the sight we were greeted with as we returned back to the Piazza della Repubblica, and cashed in the last of our sample credits on the gelato card.
There is no better end to an Italian meal than some gelato.
QUESTIONS: Are you familiar with the works of Michelangelo? Have you heard of the Uffizi? What is your favorite way to eat pasta?