Florence – Wednesday

We took the high-speed train to Florence for a day-trip today.  It was just enough time to whet our appetite to come back when we have more time.

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We viewed the huge Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore from the outside, including seeing the platform where Michelangelo’s David was designed to be installed (but was never installed there):

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…then did a very quick tour of the Academy of Fine Arts to see some of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures:

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…as well as David:

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Words can’t adequately describe how it feels to be so close to this masterpiece.

We then did a quick walking tour of the ancient parts of Florence, including seeing several Medici palaces, the Uffizi Gallery (from the outside), and the Ponte Vecchio.

The Piazza della Signoria includes a number of original sculptures, including the  Rape of the Sabines:

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…and Perseus with the Head of Medusa:

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These are among the sculptures installed in the plaza outside one of the palaces used by the Medici, all of which share themes of conquest and domination – not-so-subtle messaging for the people.

After lunch, we wandered around on our own for about an hour:

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…past the Mercato del Porcellino (Market of the Little Pig, named after a sculpture at the market):

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and down a number of narrow, winding streets:

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After returning to Rome tonight, Keith & I wandered out on our own and found a little neighborhood tavola calda (small cafeteria-style restaurant), where we enjoyed cannelloni and rice-stuffed tomatoes.  Pimsleur lessons paid off — we were able to order food and then ask for directions to the nearest gelateria in Italian.

Gelato is definitely my new favorite food group:

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