- Fizzy Thoughts: Italy Trip: Day Thirteen

Italy Trip: Day Thirteen

Friday, October 05, 2007


It's 8:30am and I'm sitting on the loggia watching the pool boy clean the pool and looking out over the hills as the morning mist burns off. Definitely not a sentence I can write very often. It is so quiet and still here at night. In the daytime you can hear cars drive by, but it is still peaceful and postcard beautiful.

We rode the train into Florence from Pontassieve, a nearby town. After getting on the train we realized there is a closer station in the smaller town of Sieci. Oh well - next time. We rode the train to Florence's main station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella. We walked to the market and spent at least an hour wandering through the stalls. Mostly it was leather, pashmina shawls, t-shirts and some clothing for sale. We bought pashminas and a Vespa t-shirt for HB.

After shopping we walked over to the Duomo to start an iPod walking tour. We looked at Ghiberti's Baptistry doors and the outside of the Duomobefore going inside the church, which actually seems plain in comparison to the ornate facade. The interior of Brunelleschi's dome is painted, but otherwise the church is quite stark. There is a clock that runs backwards, going from dusk to dawn. Back outside the church, there is an adjacent loggia where lost children were placed for recovery. Some were just abandoned. :-( From there we went down some narrow streets to Dante's church, where Dante worshipped (and worshipped Beatrice from afar). It's also where Beatrice is buried. Florence is still full of its original medieval streets - you can see old towers and buildings everywhere you look. The upper stories often are built out into the alleys, meaning medieval Florence was dark and dank. Pee-you! From Dante's church we wandered more streets to the Piazza della Signoria, where the rulers of Florence did their thing. There is a copy of David here (hereafter to be known as outside David), where the original once stood. There is a sculpture gallery and a plaque on the ground commemorating the site where Savonarola's Bonfire of the Vanities (and his later execution) occurred. There is also the Neptune sculpture that is called a beautiful piece of marble that has been ruined (supposedly that was Michelangelo's opinion of the piece). Then it was over to the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio. Lots of sparklies, lots of money. We had lunch at Celestine, just across the bridge. Once again I ordered vegetable risotto and ended up with mushroom risotto. It was good, but I'm giving up on risotto as I've had my fill of mushrooms. After looking at all the gaudy gold jewelry for sale on the Ponte Vecchio, we headed off in search of Gelateria dei Neri, which according to one of our guidebooks has some of the best gelato in town. Yup, it was. I had chocolate and tangerine, and it was amazing. It replaced Tre Scalini as favorite gelateria. We walked back to the train station to take a train back home for the evening.

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In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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