Thursday, March 21, 2019

Tuscany and Florence

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We got Andi set up in her four star hotel, said goodbye, and took the water taxi to the airport where we secured our rental car.  Three hours later we were driving off of the autostrada and on a very winding, narrow road to Firenzoula, a traditional village set in the Tuscany mountains a hour north of Florence.  We decided on a remote location to be able to enjoy the local flavor, have a quite place to say at the end of the day an be able to make day trips to Florence and Bologna.

View from a pullout high above the village.
Village square.
 The bridge crossing the local river just below our house.  Everything was getting green fast even though it was still in the 40s at night.
 For $43 a night we got a lovely, very old family farmhouse, in the middle of the village, surrounded on three sides by farmland.  It was well over 200 years old, four large rooms, and about a quaint as we could expect.  The host was lovely and welcoming and we quickly settled in, walked to the local market for supplies, and within an hour, it felt like we have lived here all our

We had originally decided to spend three days in Florence and one days in Bologna and made plans accordingly.  We pre-booked two walking tours, one on each of the first two days, and then reserved skip the line tickets for the Academia and Uffizi galleries for our third day.  It took us an hour to drive the mountain road back to the tollway and then into the city.  We found a local, attended parking lot that handled the car for about $20 a day.  It was close to our events, safe and protected.  We figured it was well worth the extra money for the piece of mind.

We met our guide, Donati, an older, disheveled man, who ended up giving us a grand walking tour of the major highlights.  He was well spoken and full of information.  It was obvious that he had an art history background as he spoke eloqently of the sculptures and seemed to know all of the major works inside each of the momuments we passed.

Our first stop was the Church of Santa Maria Novella.  The first church built in Florence and today the third most important.  The three colors of marble are indicative of Florence architecture and the theme played well throughout the entire city.
Next up was the main catherdral.  A magnificant work...huge in scope and detail.  The bell tower was massive.

The mosaics over each of the entry doors were done with Murano glass tiles and shimmered in the sunlight.
The fountain of Neptune was being worked on but from a few steps back you could easily see the Roman statue dating back to 250 AD.
City Hall and also the second of three Medici palaces.
A copy of the David and the original of Hercules flank the entrance.  Until 1850 the original David stood in this place.
Next to city hall and the Uffizi gallery was a huge loggia...patio...full of exquiste sculptures, all but two are originals.
The Medicis liked this style of building foundation.  Massive carved blocks of granite with huge bronze rings to tie up visiting horses.
There were several horse-drawn carriages roaming the streets. 
An ancient wine store.  Bottles were sold through the little window.
Typical Florentine street.
Catherdral of the Holy Cross, the third of the massive trio and the one housing the most works by DaVinci and Michelangelo.
We entered this "smaller" chapel to admire its finely carved altar of marble.

The "Gates of Paradise|" doors of the main cathedral's baptistery.
The famous Ponte Veccihio bridge lined with jewelry stores.
Our last day in Florence was an art gallery day.  We devoted all of our time to the Academia and the Uffizi.  The lines were long and we were glad we had purchased "skip the line" tickets.  At the Academia we viewed a newly discovered bust from 5 AD that was remarkable.
We saw the original Bonticelli statue of Hercules.
And of course the highlight was the David.
Here for the first time we were we able to see four unfinished works by Michaelangelo.

One is his pietas.
And the king himself.  Magnificent from every angle.

We walked between locations and enjoyed a sidewalk panni on the way to the Uffizi Gallery.  Once again we were able to skip the line and enjoyed touring all three floors of the massive collection of Roman and Medival art.  We spent a good three hours here, splitting up and meeting again at the end of the day.  The place is massive and the main halls are maginifient, all lined with Roman statues and busts.  Off of the hallways are the galleries...with a huge collection of paintings and sculptures.  Eye candy for sure.

Here are a few of our favorite pieces.

Vies of Florence from an upper windows of the gallery.

Lastly there was an exhibit of work by a modern artist that was compelling.

This appeared to be a pile of stones.  As I walked around it |I realized something totally different.

Having caught a cold during our visit, and honestly, a bit fatigued from walking over five miles each of the three days, we opted to stay in our cottage and relax for a full day.  We had planned to visit Bologna and decided it would be better to make a quick visit the next day in route to Verona.


Bigwallpaul said...

Tom and Bobbie! What a wonderful surprise to see you here. I have often fondly recalled my winter trips to AK but most especially Feb 2007 when you, Bobbie, performed the marriage ceremony for Theresa and me on top of Flattop Mt. in the middle of winter. Yesterday, I was clearing out a file cabinet when I came to "Alaska 2007" and thought I'd see what was up with the alaskanleopard. Amazing and inspiring! Theresa and I are lightening-up. We are shedding stuff and putting some in storage in preparation to be homeless and go do the Camino de Santiago May to Aug. Also visiting Iceland, France, and more. I am facinated by what you are doing and your wonderful blogs, especially since we are planning to do a mini-version of that; taking off for Europe with just backpacks. Much more to say and lots of questions about details of nomadism.
Congratulations to two amazing and wonderful people doing what most only dream of!
--Paul and Theresa

Tom and Bobbie Lucido said...

Hi Paul and Theresa. What a lovely surprise indeed. It is so nice to hear from you while we are on journey. Yes, please do continue to follow us and use our website contact on our blog profile page to contact us directly for further information on the nomaic lifestyle. It's a blast. We too are thinking about doing a small portion of the "camino" next January after returning from Africa. Iceland was awesome.