Our second full day in Florence is winding down. We've certainly lucked out with the weather. It's been sunny and warm during the day. Much better than the snow I hear is falling in Minneapolis.
Florence is very interesting. Small in square footage, but buzzing (literally) with the hum of thousands of scooters zipping through the very narrow streets. Some people have cars, but the preferred method of transportation seems to be scooters and walking. There are some tour buses that pass by and Hubby and I have stopped to watch them try to navigate down the narrow passage ways. Sometimes we make "bets" to see if the bus will actually make it past the row of cars or scooters without taking out a sideview mirror or a pedestrian. So far it is buses 10; cars/pedestrians 0.
We woke up a little later than we had wanted so we had to rush to get to the Galleria dell'Accademia to make our 10:00 reservation. We bought tickets to both the Galleria and the Uffizi from Select Italy prior to leaving the states. The tickets cost us a bit more money but were well worth it because having tickets in hand means not waiting in the very, very long lines to get in to see the exhibits.
The General Ticket line at the Galleria was already down the street and around the block by the time we got there. The line for people who already had reservations was about 1/8th as long. It only took us about 10 minutes to get in the door of the museum. I highly recommend getting paying the premium and getting the tickets before anyone visits Florence.
We made an immediate bee-line to see David. Unbelievable. Seeing the statue in-person was really something. Photos in books or any reproduction really does not serve it justice. The detail is amazing all the way from the veins in his arms, to the detail around the elbow that is supporting his right hand, which is resting on his right shoulder holding the sling, to the details on his hands and feet -- incredible.
We spent a long time looking at the statue taking it all in. We then backtracked the museum a bit to see some of Michelangelo's unfishined sculptures that line the entry way leading to the statue of David. They were also very interesting. You can see the detail of how the scuptures are "born" -- chisel marks and chip marks that outline the beginning of the emergence of a person. We could almost "feel" the person trying to emerge out of the stone. Very, very amazing.
The rest of the museum is of works from the late 13th century. Many interesting frescos and paintings -- all of religious nature. A section of the museum houses old (and I mean OLD) instruments: cellos, violins (including a couple made by Stradivarius in the 1600s), hurlygurlys, dulicimers, harpsicords and the first clarinets. Way cool. (geeze, you'd think that, as an English major, I could come up with some sort of adjective that was more descriptive than COOL).
In any event:
After leaving the Galleria (and walking past the General Ticket line, which now stretched and snaked around the block...), we made our way to the Duomo.
Again, unbelievable. So much detail to see in the stone carvings on the Cathedral. Hubby and I took many, many picutres. The sunlight played with the green, white and pink marble that makes up the building. We are hoping for some very good prints (once we can get them done and posted). We went inside the Cathedral and took more photos of the incredible works of art.
After we wrapped up there, we met my brother and sister-in-law for a lunch at one of their favorite resturants. Then they took us through some other of their favorite streets, pointing out some great buildings (and all the history as to WHY they are great). We took a tour of the Pallazo Medici Ricardi house. Hard to believe that a family could live in such a place.
After visiting the Pallazo, we parted ways with my brother and sister-in-law. Hubby and I wandered the streets back slowly, enjoying the scenery and a gelato (yum).
We are going to have a low-key night. We shopped at some of the local markets and are going to make a fun dinner at our apartment. We may wander out for a bit after that, or decide to put our tired feet up for the evening to rest up for tomorrow's adventure at the Uffizi.