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.


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):



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


…as well as David:


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:


…and Perseus with the Head of Medusa:


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:


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


and down a number of narrow, winding streets:


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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