Thursday, April 23, 2009

Florence, day two

Before going to bed the night before, we had planned on waking up a little bit earlier so we could avoid long lines at our first destination.

So, easily enough, we arrived about 15 minutes before opening and there were only 10 people in the line 'without reservations'.

We waited, in line, next to this door.

In order to get in.

We saw him, words can't describe. Perfect.

We stayed about an hour, and afterwards the line was at least a block long. Super!

We then ventured off to the Piazza della Signoria. Which is surrounded by the Loggia dei Lanzi

Pallazzo Vecchio

and the Uffizi. We decided not to wait in line for 3-4 hours in order to go in the Uffizi, thinking we would better spend the time there walking around. Well, and eating gelato.

We passed the Ponte Vecchio again

But this time, noticed these. Which we didn't know the meaning of at the time. Pretty interesting little things you learn, after the fact.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon at a palace. Amazingly huge.

Behind it, the gardens

Exhausted, we walked back to the hotel. While passing by the local outdoor market.

Then dinner at a sidewalk restaurant.

And, since it was St. Patricks Day, we wrapped up the night at an Irish pub :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Florence, day one

We got to the subway station at about 9:00am. Where we would get off and take a longer distance train, even though the ride to Florence was only about an hour.

On the way to our hotel, which was about two blocks from the main train station, an indoor market.

With plenty of delicious treats.

From there we walked to the Basilica of San Lorenzo, one of the oldest churches in Florence.

The courtyard, inside. Sadly, no pictures allowed inside.

We walked on over to the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. A very... eclectic church from the outside.

Inside, pretty plain in comparison.

Until you get to the dome. Which rests on a drum and not on the roof itself. This allowed for the entire dome to be built without the need for scaffolding from the ground, the first large dome ever to be built without centering.

We then walked to the Opera del Duomo Museo, where we saw the Gates of Paradise.

Maddalena, by Donatello

We then walked along the Arno River

We saw, and crossed the Ponte Vecchio

A pretty interesting bridge that has markets (mostly jewelry) on both sides.

We took this bridge, in order to get to Piazzale Michelangelo, awesome views.

and these were some of many stairs we had to climb to get there.

My dinner, which was pretty great.

The Girls, who claims this was the best gnocchi she had ever had. 'Little pillows'

Full of delicious food, we walked back to the hotel.

Another day... complete.