The usual coffee and croissant before Marie and I did a tour of Florence. This posting will be mainly images and not necessarily in the right order…..
First stop was to be the Cathedral. We thought we’d like to go up into the Dome but on arrival you should have seen the queue…. all round the cathedral and half way down a street, all standing in the hot sun! …..I don’t think so. We looked at the Campanile next to it which had no queue but apparently a spectacular view from the top far higher than the cathedral dome…. but 414 steps in 32 degree temperatures – no way!
Orsanmichel was our next port of call as we walked round Florence…. a quieter city in comparison to Rome and much easier to get around. Orsanmichel had originally been a market place and was turned into a church. Upstairs were giant sculptures which has been brought in from outside and put on view in a museum. The next floor was a viewing floor from which you could see the whole city – possibly a better option for us than the Cathedral Dome as it meant we didn’t have to queue.
We then moved on to the Town Hall and Palace Veccio, where I for one was on overload with art, scrulpture, design and embellishment on walls, ceilings, floors and anywhere else that could be found for artwork.
This culminated rather weirdly in several exceedingly ornate rooms containing an exhibition by Jackson Pollock of drawings based on Michaelangelo’s sculptures. I must say I hadn’t seen any of Pollock’s drawings before, only paint splats, which he is famous for, and was most impressed. Although I do love his splats and colour too!
We then walked alongside the river a bit til we came to a very suitable place for lunch. Having chosen our pizza (for there were many to choose from) and our ice cold beer, we headed for a table outside as we Brits would. No, it was way too hot, we turned around and sat in the cool of a fan and had the room pretty much to ourselves as the tourists roasted outside.
Energised by our lunch break we set off across the river via Pont Vecchio which was lined on both sides with mainly little jewellery stores, where you could buy a ring for two and half thousand euros! We pointed out a very good Diana engagement ring lookalike!
The heat was so intense we lay down in the shade for a bit once inside.
The gardens were high up and once at the top, we had amazing views of the city and of the Tuscany countryside all around. We probably spent an hour or so there just relaxing and enjoying the peace away from people and traffic. Eventually a gelato beckoned. We had promised ourselves this treat on the way back. So many flavours to choose from…. Marie had melon and I thought I would try yoghurt flavour which had been recommended to me. I think I preferred the taste of Marie’s melon.
We crossed back over the river by a different bridge so that we could photograph Pont Vecchio. The River Arno looked stunning in the evening light but the temperatures were as high as ever and the stone bridge reflected the heat. We sat for a while in a piazza before returning to our hostel for a cool shower and rest.