If you saw my previous post about our weekend in Florence, then you know that we crammed a lot in.  So much in fact that I felt it was better to do two posts in order to do this spectacular city justice.

After a quick croissant and a good cup of tea (you can take the girl out of England), we headed out to explore the city in the bright sunshine.  Our first stop was the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly known as Il Duomo.

IMG_7755

The building of this gorgeous gothic cathedral started in 1296 and was completed in 1436.   The exterior is covered in green, white and pink marble and looks striking from every view point.  We considered venturing in but the queue was extensive.  Note to anyone who is thinking of going to Florence, either book your tickets online or, ask your hotel to sort this for you.   It’ll save you a lot of time when you’re visiting the big tourist sites.

Some Bloke Called Dave

No trip to Florence could possible be complete without visiting Michelangelo’s David.   The sculpture is house in the Galleria dell’Accademia a short walk from the Piazza del Duomo so we continued meandering in the sunshine up old streets packed with boutiques and gelaterias.

Again the queues for the Accademia Gallery were long but we found a couple of tour guides near the entrance.  For a fee they would get us priority entrance meaning we skipped the long queues and also give us a guided tour of the Gallery.  Neither the Husband nor I are art experts and the idea of having someone who knew what they were talking about coupled with being able to avoid the queue really appealed to us.  We paid our €s and a small group of us were shepherded into a priority entrance door.

IMG_7767

The imposing Renaissance sculpture is the focus of the gallery.  In fact there isn’t too much else to see in it at all.  However, our guide was very knowledgeable and definitely worth the additional cost.  In 1501 Michelangelo took 2 1/2 years to sculpt David from an imperfect block of marble.   He incorporated the marbles imperfections in the body of David with expert skill.

Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets for the roof of Il Duomo, the statue was placed instead in Piazza Signoria the main square in central Florence.  After many years of weather taking its toll on the porous marble as well as some vandalism, David was painstakingly moved inch by inch to the Galleria dell’Accademia in 1873.  A replica was placed in the original location in the Piazza.

Long Lunch

After the excitement of seeing David in the flesh (marble) we went back to a sunny restaurant in the  Piazza del Duomo.  What better place to enjoy a spot of fresh pasta and a bottle of prosecco?

The day was running away so we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and change before heading out for dinner at Taverna Del Bronzino, a recommendation from friends of ours. This was a splendid find, it looks like a dining room from the 70s inside but don’t let this put you off.  The service and the food were excellent.  Once again our great waiter, Stefano knew his stuff when it came to Chianti Classico and we supped another delicious bottle with our food.  This time we had fish soup with foie gras and crispy pork belly to start, followed by a Florentine T-bone steak to share for main course. The creme brûlée and ice cream cake were pudding highlights, served from an old-fashioned desert trolley.

Galileo Galilei

IMG_7783

Sunday morning arrived all to quickly.  We thought about visiting the Uffizi Gallery but once again the queues were far too long and we hadn’t pre-booked our tickets.  Feeling in the need for some sort of art education we headed for the Museo Galileo.  It is essentially a museum of science history and houses many ornate and very old pieces of scientific equipment including telescopes, barometer and of course thermometers.

By far my favourite collection was the extraordinary terrestrial and celestial globes, including Santucci’s Armillary Sphere, a giant armillary sphere designed and built by Antonio Santucci.

Feeling suitably educated we headed back to Piazza San Firenze for our last Italian lunch and bottle or prosecco before our driver collected us to take us back to the airport.  We were sad to be leaving but we know we will definitely be headed back to Florence later on in the year, this time armed with pre-booked tickets and a long list of things we HAVE to see.