Mass and Uffizza

We set off aiming to get to the Cathedral (The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore) cathedral2in time for the festival mass that was taking place at 10.30. P1010402 We arrived just in time to see the procession disappear into the darkness of the main door and went round the side where visitors were allowed in.  I have to say the music was beautiful. mass There was a full choir and robed clergy, although after some singing, the bishop  spoke at some length in Italian.  We stood for the Italian Catholic cathedral windowversion of the creed before slipping out quietly for our timed slot in the Uffizzi.  P1010406 The inside of the cathedral was surprisingly plain in comparison to the highly decorated exterior.  But the ceiling inside the Dome was beautifully decorated. It is hotter than ever today…. temperatures reaching around 33 degrees or more.  We duly collected our tickets which Marie had booked on line and joined the group to enter the Uffizzi at our allotted time.  UffizziI was already wilting as I climbed several flights of stairs up to the main art gallery but was relieved to find that each room was beautifully cool with air conditioning maintaining a constant temperature for the ancient works of art. paintingBotticellipainting2painting3painting5painting6 The works of art took me back to my days at school when I did GCE O-level in History of Art and many of the familiar names came back to me…. Giotto, Botticelli, Durer, Rembrandt and of course Michaelangelo.  It was good to see the paintings in real life that I had only seen in books.  Some of them were much larger than I had imagined.  We spent a good couple of hours in the gallery and eventually made our way back out into the hot sunshine, to see The Basilica di Santa Croce, which is the burial place of Michelangelo.     Exausted but thrilled that we had not only seen some incredible works of art going back to the fifteenth century and more but had also enjoyed the main sights of Florence in just two days, san croce churchwe now planned to relax and maybe watch the Italians in their World Cup match later this afternoon.  But of course a well deserved gelato at the next possible opportunity!P1010483 Enjoying a lovely long cool spritz in the gardens of the hostel under the relative cool of the trees and overhanging wisteria.  There are two big screens there and the Italian/Uruguay match had already begun.  footieBy half time still nil nil and not a very exciting game so we headed out to find our last Trattoria for dinner.  We didn’t really want to do much more walking and were lucky to find a suitable little restaurant only a few blocks away.  Air conditioned, match on the big screen (of course) and a young Italian waiter we both agreed we could just eat up.  Our final meal antipasto was Octopus salad followed by a fish dish for primo, well main really, and a carafe of Tuscan blanco between us. Sadly the Italians were knocked out of the World Cup and we saw dejected fans making their way home with rolled flags under their arms.  We returned to the hostel to watch the fireworks from the roof…. a great place for a view of the cathedral dome and the hill where the fireworks were to be let off at 10.  fireworks1This was part of the feast day of San Giovanni which takes place on 24 June every year in Florence. fireworks2 It was an amazing spectacle lasting about 45 minutes non stop…. a great send off for us.  Thank you Firenze and chiao!

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