Day 5 Florence
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Breakfast on the roof! Let's see.... oh perfection found once again. We eat and plan our day. Today we visit the "Galleria delgi Uffizi". Home to the Medici art collection left to the state of Tuscany for future generations to enjoy. What a gift indeed! This collection encompasses The Birth Of Venus and La Primavera by Sandro Botticelli, Modonna Dal Collo Lungo (Madonna with the Long Neck), by Parmigianino, Doni Tondo by Michelangelo, and Madonna of the Gold Finch by Raphael, just to name a few.
See map: Uffizi Gallery
We booked a tour for this one. The museum is huge and to get the most out of this experience a guided tour is the way to go. We are using Walks of Italy, once again, and not to be redundant, a great tour and guide. Our guide is Ishmael and he looks a lot like Andrea Bocelli. We gather in the square outside the museum and ready ourselves for the 3hr tour. We have chosen an early visit at 8:15am. I know, I know.... we moaned a bit about getting up so early. In hind sight it was by far the best time to go. First it is cooler in the morning and less crowded which is the real bonus.
On this particular morning the crowds were almost nonexistent. Our guide was so pleased as we were able to get close to each piece of art and spend time really looking and taking it in.
The detailed descriptions about the meaning, painting style and technique were treasured information and really helped us to understand the period and culture of the Renaissance.
We also visited the Palazzo Vecchio with our group. It is decieving, in terms of size, from the street view. Once inside we tour the duke and dutchess living quarters and spill out into the Salone dei Cinquecento. This by far the largest room we have visited spanning 170ft in length by 75ft in width. The entire ceiling is an art gallery in and of itself with enormous paintings painted on wood and hoisted to their resting place. Olive oil was used as a natural way to keep the chains lubricated. Each painting is surrounded by a gold frame ornate and worth a study on thier own. The walls are also covered by large paintings on plaster.
The painter had to apply the plaster and complete the area of painting before the plaster dried. This allowed the paint to be set in the plaster thus securing it's longevity. Every square inch of this room has a story to tell and having the guide was a good investment.
Tired and hungry we ask our guide for a quiet spot to relax and have a bite to eat. He steers us across the Ponte Vecchio bridge to a small street where we can enjoy a glass of wine and some local cheese and salumi. We find only italians here with friends and family and the wine and food are delicious. We try the salumi, one seasoned with fennel and black peppercorns and one with blackberries. Both are rich, salty and hit the mark.
The cheese go from mild to storng and compliment the salumi well. Feeling refreshed we work our way over to the Accademia Gallery.
The Accademia Gallery is home to Michelangel's statue of David. Thank goodness we have prepurchased tickets. The line is two blocks long in the sweltering sun. We hop into the que for our time slot and immediately enter the museum.
This is a very tiny museum and we really only want to see David, so we quickly find our way to the statue and snap a few shots. Not so fast my friends! We do stop to admire the enormity of this statue with the details of muscle groups and veins even dimples appearing. Hard to imagine the time it took to sculpt such a piece of work.
We head back outside and travel in search of a light snack and afternoon spritz. Along the way we stop and look into a few shops, hard not too with all the beautful things displayed in the windows.
We settle on a small restaurant on a side street we stumble accross. They have outdoor seating with a misting station, yes! We order our spritz and a small pizza to share. So nice to stop and rest. We have been walking since 8:00 am this morning and my feet have heartbeats now. Our waiter calls us a taxi and we return to our hotel for a brief rest and refreshing.
Tonight we are going to enjoy dinner at our hotel on the roof with our friend Tina.
We meet on the rooftop terrace at 8:00 pm with a gentle evening glow in the background. Yep it was beautiful!
We chatter away catching up and sharing stories of Florence. Tina grew up in a small town outside of Naples and has lived in this magificent city since 1982. If you are considering a visit, she does rent out her room and will even cook you dinner in the evenings. Had we only known! We can pass on contact information if you happen this way.
For dinner we order the Swordfish Carpaccio. This is comprised of thinly sliced smoked and salted swordfish over a bed of greens, topped with sliced oranges, fennel bulb and dotted with black olives. A light drizzle of olive oil is all that is needed to dress this dish. This is light and fresh and serves as a gateway for the following courses.
For the Primo we have Saffron Gnocchi with fresh scampi.
Pillows of potato dumplings coated with a light saffron sauce and topped with a scampi smiling at us. The presentation was lovely and the dish was tasty.
Secondo was a Seabass stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, olives and capers a top a creamy polenta. We ordered a side of rosemary potatoes and grilled zucchini to go with it. The fish was light and flaky, the sun dried tomatoes added acidity and the olives and capers gave a twist of brine. All in all a combination I would love to recreate.
After more conversation i order another cocktail. It arrived at our table flaming. Why? I have no idea, but it was sure fun to receive.
We say our goodbyes to Tina and head down to our room for slumber. See you tomorrow!