Today was the first day that the weather was good. Since we arrived it has been rainy and cold. Today it warmed up a bit, and the sun was shining, so we took the opportunity to explore our home for the next four months.
We walked to Ponte Vecchio first. Ponte Vecchio is probably one of the most famous landmarks in Florence, and because of the distance (like a twelve minute walk. I hate the cold), I hadn’t gone yet. Livia had a Dutch guidebook, and so she was our appointed tour guide for the afternoon. Ponte Vecchio spans the Arno River. It’s famous for still having shops on it. The original shops were butchers, but they were replaced by jewelers and art dealers because the Medicis (the regents of Firenze) didn’t like the smell.
The bridge we took the pictures from is called the Ponte Santa Trinita. On each corner of the bridge is a statue representing one of the four seasons.
From the bridges we walked to the Piazza Della Signoria. It is the focal point of the history of Florence. The Palazzo Vecchio (“Old Palace”), is the town hall. It overlooks the piazza, and is heralded by a replica of the statue of David. Adjacent is Loggia dei Lanzi, an open air gallery of antique renaissance art. Off the piazza is the Palazzo Vecchio, which houses the Uffizi Gallery. Next to the Louvre and the Prado in Madrid, the Uffizi is one of the most prominent museums. The artwork is housed in three separate buildings, it would take days to see and appreciate all of the art.
Behind the Piazza is a street called Via dei Neri. On it one of the best (if not the best) panini shops in Florence, All’antico Vinaio. There were two shops, across the street from each other, and the lines went out the door. Once in, we told the employees what we wanted on it-from food like mushrooms, truffles, and arugula, to salami and ham. All for five euros. They were enormous. They were delicious. Also down that road is the Gelateria dei Neri, a gelato shop that carries unique flavors such as Mexican chocolate.
After our snack we ventured on to the Piazza Santa Croce. Named after the Basilica of Santa Croce, that largest Franciscan church in the world, with sixteen chapels. There was also a group of teenagers in the square with a backpack boombox.
We returned to the beautiful Duomo, which has a bell tower almost the height of the Duomo itself, and a baptistery that’s under construction. The baptistery was constructed between 1059 and 1150. In the time of Brunelleschi, people thought it was a temple for Mars, from the time of the Emperor Caesar Augustus.
After a quick cappuccino we returned to our lovely apartment, where we finally have heat again after realizing we needed to turn on our boiler to have hot water.
I hope you all are having a lovely time at home, because I know I am here!