Have we really been here a week already? In the past seven days we have had so many memorable experiences that I'm glad this blog will help keep them all straight. Our stay here in Tuscany will be hard to beat. Unlike many of the other tourist destinations we are visiting, staying here in a home in Tuscany we feel as though we have truly experienced Italy. Theresa and Augostino are such kind genuine hosts. This is Italy!
This morning we were up bright and early. We needed to be in Florence by 8:15 to make the reservation time I had made us to visit the Accademia to see the statue of David. We had read where the museum can get very crowded if you wait until later in the day. We were there for about an hour and saw the long line of people waiting to enter when we came out. If you make reservations you don't have to wait in that line. The museum hosts other unfinished works of Michelangelo and paintings of various artists.
After a quick breakfast of danish and cappuccinos at a nearby cafe we were wandering the streets of Florence deciding what we should see next. We found ourselves back in the Mercato Centrale where we were yesterday buying food for our cooking class. It's a neat place full of such colorful vegetables, meat and fish you might never find in the US. We wanted to check out the upstairs which turned out to be just a huge food court. We passed though the rows of vendors outside selling leather bags and scarves and may have made a few purchases.
Our tour guide from yesterday said to be sure to visit the Basilica di Santa Croce, so that would be our next stop. Santa Croce was built from 1300 to about 1385. The church holds the remains of Michelangelo and Galileo amongst others. The basilica itself is like an art museum with its many frescos on the walls by many different artists. On our way out we decided we had appreciated enough art for the day and decided to forgo the Uffizzi gallery reservation we had for later in the afternoon. Art lovers may think we were crazy to miss it but after awhile it all runs in together.
Across the Arno river is Palazzo Michelangelo, about a 25 minute walk from where we were. You get a great view of the city from up there so we decided to take a walk. We were almost to the top when the rain drops started to fall. We ducked into a small food stand for a few drinks in hopes the rain would stop. It didn't so we didn't stay to long after taking a few pictures of the city skyline.
Back in the city we were ready for dinner. We found a nice restaurant with outside covered seating in the Piazza della Signoria. It is the main civic center of Florence dominated by the Palazzo Vecchio. In this spot in ancient times there were executions, riots and great celebrations. We were offered a table right next to an outdoor heater which was nice since it started to cool down after the rain. It was a nice backdrop for our last meal in Florence with lots of outdoor statues across the way and the many tourists walking around taking photos of this historical place. When the rain stopped we were on the look out for one last gelato and head back to the tram and our car to get back to our place in Tuscany.
Tomorrow we head for Sorrento. Dropping the car off and taking the train. Carl is ready to step away from the wheel. As previously mentioned driving has been a real adventure.