Tuscany! Close your eyes and imagine it. Rolling hills with tall cypruses, hedges of rosemary, vino, vino and more vino. That is the image that got us to our girls only vacation to Tuscany a year back! (I know, our loyal readers….sorry for the delayed share of this journey). No visit to Italy can be complete without a visit to Firenze. What a glorious little city, the seat of Medici empire still rules today in my opinion. We transited through Florence for 2.5 days. It is one of the more frequently visited cities so most readers can do without my long ramblings. But me being me, have to share some of my observations so here we go.
After a long flight of 3 layovers from NYC (that is what happens when you use your airline miles to travel in high season!), we checked into Hotel Dei Macchiaioli, a great little boutique hotel close enough to the action yet far away to be quiet at night. Pablo saw us on his cctv and ran down the flight of stairs to bring our luggage and welcome us. It felt like home. A nice cool drink and we were off to explore the city. Of the many places we covered in the two and a half days, the most important was the gelato walk (yes a walk designed just to hit gelateria after gelateria) and catch a few sights if they happen to be on the way. Here is a sampling of some of the images. Missing amongst this is The Uffizi..but as my sixteen year old said, ‘mom, after a while all Madonna con Bambinos look the same”. Neither will you see the image of David from the Academia. If you have to choose between the two, I recommend the Academia (just be cognizant of what you wear when you visit the mirrored floor gallery). Dont miss Gelateria Carabe, a block from the Academia…wonderful granitas
The Medici Palace is now a small museum cum art gallery for special exhibitions cum municipality office for Firenze cum a conference center. Check out the glorious conference rooms.
Don’t miss the Basilica of San Croce showcasing the artwork of Donnatello, Rosselino and the tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo and Marconi. Unlike the Duomo, it was not crowded and was wonderful taking a leisurely walk through it including the quiet cloisters. The neo-gothic facade is quite similar to the facade of the Pisa Duomo. We could not visit the leather school 🙁
What can I say about the primo attraction of Firenze? Nothing except, pay the premium to skip the lines to get to the top of the Duomo, not only are the views great but being that close to the frescos is nothing short of amazing. My daughter made us walk past it every single day, multiple times a day and I am so glad I listened to her…check out the play of natures lighting.
The Baptistry is stunning..nothing but gold in the city of gold. See all those people crowding around a closed door when the entrance is to the side? They are on to something…the gorgeous main baptistry door, take some time to check that out too, “the gates of paradise”, even if they are replicas…the originals are behind a glass at the museum.
Instead we focussed on the lovely architecture and eclectic window decor, including Aishwarya Rai offering a Kabab instead of a diya….
And pasta and cheese and vino.
No matter where you are, do make it to Ponte Vicchio at Sunset and back to the Duomo at night.
And lastly pick up some amazing paper from….