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Florence, day 3

We started the day on the south side of the river at the Pitti Palace, a de Medici palace, though the bought it from Luca Pitti and added on. It's at the other end of the walkway that goes to the Uffizi over the Ponte Vecchio, and now houses a number of museums and the Bóboli Gardens. You have to pick between two sets of museums when buying your ticket, and my preferred combination of the Galleria Palatina (with the major paintings) and the gardens wasn't an option. We went with the paintings, it being a chilly morning, near freezing, and we were all cold from our walk. Garden viewing wasn't on.

The Galleria Palatina was the experience I'd have liked in the Uffizi. Smaller crowds, and each room had a card available in Italian or English with the layout of each wall and blurbs for each painting, table/vase/whatever, and the ceiling frescoes. Better yet for my limited art knowledge, the really major works in each room were highlighted in red, for a quick way to be sure you didn't miss, say, the most significant Raphael in the room. After the rooms of paintings came the state apartments, also interesting. I think my favorite room,vas well as my nephew's, was the room of Hercules (supposedly the protector of the Medici family). B. put his mythology to the test trying to ID the setting of the various ceiling components and the paintings, while I verified by way of the card/cheat sheet.

That took up the morning, and rather exceeded the art quota for the younger generation. We walked back across the Arno, found a sandwich shop on Via dei Tavolini and got what turned out to be small sandwiches to share, and ate those in the street before heading first to the Nuovo Mercato street market, then back to the one at San Lorenzo for better prices. Brian wasn't interested in shopping and headed towards the hotel, the kids took off together, and Robbie, Myra, and I stuck together. The two shopper groups coalesced after a while to look for a leather coat L. was buying for her gym teacher, and a purse for herself, promised as a gift from Robbie. We found the coat first, and at the same shop I found one (hip length black with brown cuffs and collar) for myself, then the (excellent) salesman got A.L. to try on one that we all said was a great look on her. She couldn't afford it, and ended up getting a special gift from her grandma. :).

Shopping finished up with successful finding of a purse for L. and assorted smaller items as gifts for various people. I bought myself two scarves, one for dress-up and one for warmth (labelled as "Firenze-Italia" but made in China when you find the inner tag, alas). We walked back to the hotel by Via Genori, with a stop at Le Botteghe I'd Leonardo gelato shop (no GMO! No preservatives! No artificial colors or favors!), and arrived at the hotel in time to get coffee or tea from the afternoon tray.

Dinner was L.'s birthday celebration, and we had a recommendation for Paoli's from our first-day guide. Very nice, small, with arched and painted ceilings.
Close to kitchen and could watch--our waiter turned to ask if the steak I wanted was still available (yes), and called out in the other direction to order L.'s salad of rocket, zucchini, Parmesan, and truffles. I had filet with cream and green peppercorn sauce, after starting with a salad, then ended with creme caramel.

We gathered in a room off the hotel lobby to give L. her presents--she's now rather well supplied with scarves, I can report.

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nlbarber
Nancy Barber

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