Florence in Two Days: Day 2

I can’t remember why, and it sounds absolutely ridiculous right now to say this, but the second day we went to Florence I was a total crab in the morning. Thankfully for Kyle, and everyone that knows me, it’s pretty easy to turn my frown upside down with a snack and a few shots of espresso. As it just so happens, in Italy there seemed to be an espresso bar (or three) on every block – have I told you that Italy was the perfect country for us to honeymoon? 

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So, once I was all hyped up it was time to hit the pavement. Our first spot was the Boboli Gardens, which are vast gardens behind the Pitti Palace (a Medici home). Although it was a little chilly out, and the gardens were not in bloom, the entire place was completely breathtaking – in size and beauty. Every turn was something new, the photos I’ve added below aren’t even a fraction of the gardens.
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We could have spent the day in the gardens, but it was time to move on out into the city. Look how tiny this car is – nuts! These were all over the place, along with scooter type vehicles that ran on electricity.
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Ah, the Uffizi Gallery … what an experience, I wish I had more photos to show you, unfortunately no photos was a strict rule outside of the sculpture hallways.  This was a sight to see in person, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
You could literally spend hours in here, unfortunately with our “Florence in 2 Days” ambition we had to do the highlights tour with our Rick Steves Guide to get through in a reasonable amount of time (also, thanks to the Firenze Card, we skipped the hour-long line to get in). If you’re not an expert in art (really, who is?) I highly recommend using either Rick’s guide, or another guide, for going through this museum, without it the museum would have been much too overwhelming and after a while it would have all looked the same.
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If I had to design a museum just for Kyle, I think it would be the Museo de Galileo. Not to sound like Stefon on SNL, but this museum has everything: maps, measuring tools, clocks – an engineer’s dream come true…
DSC_1027 museo galileo 1museo galileo 2 Museo Galileo - measuring instruments
If you ever go to this museum and find Galileo’s severed finger on display – PLEASE send me a photo. I actually did another half-lap around because I thought I missed it somewhere and all of the guidebooks claim it is in there.
The museum was closing, and it was then time for us to head back to San Gimignano for our nightly pasta, wine and gelato feast (yes, I think Italy might be heaven).

Florence in Two Days: Day 1

I couldn’t say enough times how perfect the location of San Gimignano was in Tuscany for taking day-trips, we were only about an hour outside of Florence – and we took advantage of this two days in a row during the week.

Florence was b-e-a-utiful, and there was so much to be seen and done we definitely could not have conquered the city in just the two days we had there. Thankfully, Kyle did his research and had for us two Firenze (Florence) Cards, which proved to be worth every penny and saved us a countless amount of time. The Firenze Card gave us access to almost all of the museums and sites with pre-paid admissions (they aren’t free like museums in DC) and let us skip the lines – if we did not have one, it would have been impossible to see and do all of what we were able to.

We parked the car outside the city walls, and walked into Florence over the Ponte Vecchio – which is an old bridge with stores along it, and was very crowded and a bit underwhelming (or overhyped) in my opinion. Regardless, there were some great views.

Florence Ponte Vecchio collageFlorence Ponte Vecchio 1

The main piazza (from what I could tell was the main one), Piazza della Signoria, was outside of a fortress/palace/town hall, the Palazzo Vecchio, and displayed a large number of sculptures. The two below are my favorite, the one on the left, I believe according to Rick Steves, is one of the first pieces of art made to be viewed at any angle. The fountain on the right, I know nothing about, but I love the attitude in his face.

Piazza della Signoria Loggia dei Lanzi collage

Inside the fortress/palace/town hall, the Palazzo Vecchio, was more art featuring naked men (wahoo!), maps, and history of Italy and Florence. The sculpture below represents the triumph of Florence over Siena (thanks again, Rick Steves), however I think it just looks hilarious and confusing. Palazzo Vecchio - Florence over SienaPalazzo Vecchio Map Room

If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll recognize the style of the outside of the cathedral in Florence, it looks quite similar to the Duomo in Siena, Siena had built theirs to compete with Florence.  The inside, however, is not as decorative. Quite plain in comparison to Siena’s “cover every inch” decorating philosophy.
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo di Firenze Florence Cathedral 2 Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo di Firenze Florence Cathedral inside 1Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo di Firenze Florence Cathedral dome

We didn’t do any shopping in Florence at all, however there were quite a lot of stores (and adorable guard dogs). Florence shopping pup DSC_0860

As the museums were closing that evening, we walked along the river and scaled a very steep hill (maybe a mile high), with a fresh pizza and bottle of wine, in order to watch the sun set over the city. It was crowded up there, and we were sweaty from the climb, but it was worth it.   DSC_0878 DSC_0879 DSC_0887 DSC_0891 DSC_0894 DSC_0904 DSC_0906

I know I was there, and I took the photos, but I’m even now still in disbelief over how beautiful this city was. Anyone booking a flight to Florence right now? Take me with you!!