Friday, October 16, 2009

Florence Visit

Two weekends ago, the visit of Florence and other parts of Tuscany was well spent. We were there from Friday evening until Tuesday morning. The first couple of days were spent solely in the old, historical section of Florence. The last day was spent doing a guided bus tour to Pisa (stopped only to see the cathedral and Leaning Tower), lunch & wine tasting at a Tuscan vineyard, San Gimignano, and Siena. I have been to Florence and Pisa before --- it was great to visit these two cities again. The drive around the Tuscany region with the breathtaking scenery was astonishing, and the lunch & wine tasting was a treat. The wind and rain followed us throughout the one day tour. The hill town of San Gimignano, with its grand towers, and Siena, an even hillier town than San Gimignano, with its magnificent Duomo inside and outside, were the highlights of the tour. We had a short time at Siena walking its narrow and windy streets and getting a glimpse of the main square; most of our time in Siena was spent inside the Duomo. Siena is definitely worth visiting again.

Pictures from Pisa, San Gimignano, and Siena will have to be included in future postings. The following are pictures from Florence:

I ate a lot of gelato.

Gelato at Piazza Santa Croce

With a gelato outside of Florence's Duomo

I savored the cuisine and wine. The appetizer dish of bruschetta with a chicken liver spread was scrumptious, while the tripe dish a la Florentine was a pleasant surprise.

We walked all over the heart of the city, visited several churches and plazas, and enjoyed the sights.

The Duomo and the Bell Tower as seen from a terrace cafe at the Uffizi Museum.

View from Uffizi Museum Terrace Cafe

Palazzo Vecchio as seen from a terrace cafe at the Uffizi Museum.

View from Uffizi Museum Terrace Cafe

In front of the Duomo.

In front of Florence's Duomo

The Duomo.

Florence's Duomo

In front of the Duomo.

Front of Florence's Duomo

Santa Croce Basilica.

Santa Croce Basilica

A model of Leonardo Da Vinci's Flying Machine.

Model of Leonardo's Flying Machine

In front of the Fountain of Neptune at Piazza della Signoria.

In Front of the Fountain of Neptune at Piazza della Signoria

A replica of Michaelangelo's Statue of David at Piazza della Signoria.

Michaelangelo's Statue of David at Pizza della Signoria

Statue of Perseus holding up the severed head of Medusa, at the Piazza della Signoria.

Statue of Hercules beating the Centaur Nessus, at the Piazza della Signoria.

View of the Duomo from Piazza dell Santissima Annunziata.

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata

The two fountain statues seem to be "shooing" away pigeons below them by spitting water at them.

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata

The selection of cured meat at the Mercato Centrale.

But most of all, I enjoyed seeing the rich collection of art work at the Accademia Gallery, the Uffizi Museum, at the various cathedral and churches, and in public squares. The buildings which houses the art collection in Uffizi and Accademia are non descript as seen from the following pictures:

But inside these unremarkable buildings are priceless works of art, especially those created during the great Renaissance period. Additional pictures can be seen in my flickr page.

I was warned initially not to take pictures inside the Accademia Gallery as I approached the Michaelangelo’s statue of David. I then proceeded to walk behind the statue and tried to sneak in a few more flashless shots. An overzealous museum attendant noticed me with the camera and walked up to me to give me a stern warning. The warning consisted of her asking me to put my camera away, reminding me that I was a visitor of the country, and not only threatened to kick me out of the museum, but also out of the country, if I continue to take pictures. Mind you, that countless other people were taking pictures. I, along with many others, were able to take photos earlier from other parts of the museum without any problem. Most people were gently reminded not to take any pictures by the other attendants. Anyway, the picture below of the colossal David was worth all the hassle I got from the museum attendant.

Michaelangelo's David

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