The breakfasts in the hotel are expansive... Cooked sausages (two types), eggs, bacon (never been that keen on Italian bacon but it's a matter of individual choice). Danish pastries, 'cakes', toast, jam etc. Bowls of fresh fruit and fruit salads. Yoghurts, Cold meats and ham. Variety of bread and rolls. Fruit juices, coffee, tea etc. I had the 'cooked' breakfast but changed to other things as the week progressed.
OK then. An early start means we set off in pleasantly cool temperatures. Our first stop being the Uffizi Gallery - it was very close to the hotel - just a matter of metres almost!
The river in the early morning light.
We had been advised before we left for Florence to get a Firenze Card - this being a pass that lasts for 3 days from first use and permits visits to various museums without having to queue for tickets. It certainly justifies the costs and allows the user to avoid the queues standing in a very hot sun. I would recommend it despite the cost. Worth every penny.
It was great to be able to get into the Museum early in the day... these open very much earlier in Florence than we're used to in the UK.
Pictures are not permitted to be taken in the gallery (understandably) but in some ways this was good. It is probably the most spectacular collection of art that I have seen. Utterly breathtaking and moving from one area to another you feel that it can't keep up the 'wow' factor..but it achieves this effortlessly. I could go again and I'm sure see pictures etc. that I'd missed the first visit.
After our journey around all this splendour we decided to see outside the gallery's cafe enjoying a cold drink... much needed. Italian Sparrows entertained us and the view from the balcony garden was pretty good too.
it's a pity that I'm not tall enough to take pictures from a distance over the top of the walls... the views were pretty amazing!
We left the Uffizi for our next destination. Each street has something to offer.. so it takes longer than usual to get from one place to another..
Masses of cabling, lighting and amplifiers being put in place for a concert.
and finally at our next destination - the church Santa Croce. There is a charge for entry but well worth it in my opinion...
and then lunchtime. We tried a cafe/restaurant that had been recommended.. the Boccadama. Well worth the recommendation and it was crowded. When in a new area with unknown restaurants, a sort of 'toe in the water' guide I've tended to be aware of is that, if it's full of locals, then it's usually good. It was - in both cases! My meal was Salade Rustica.. Blue Cheese salad - very nice!
and where to now? Something we were greatly looking forward to - the Duomo (The Cathedral of Florence)
The Baptistry Doors - rather grand!
and the outside of the buildings is amazing!!
However, the inside I felt was disappointing especially in relation to the Santa Croce which we'd seen earlier. It was quite plain. Not that that, in itself, was a problem but it is highly rated as a place to see. So not that many pics.
You can go up to the top of the Dome but given this was one of the hotter days and we'd already done a great deal of walking we decided to give it a miss.
The Medici Chapel
A covered market.
The church of San Margheritta...
Seen enroute to our way back to the hotel..for a rest before heading out for dinner.
So having eaten inside last night, we managed to find Ristorente Pizzeria Il Bargello in some shade (unpretentious but the service was friendly and the position in the Piazza was good) - to dine al fresco. It was lovely to sit outside the pizzeria in the Piazza della Signoria and watch life go by. Smoked Salmon to start then Pizza with Artichokes, Olives, cheese and mushrooms... exceedingly better than the Pizza you can find over in the UK.
I had a glass (just a small one ;) of their house red and Pete indulged in a diet Coke. The glass was so tall that I would have had difficulty reaching the straw to drink it!
and in the setting sun the light is so different.
so back to the hotel and tomorrow is ...... the third day...the visit is going far too quickly.
How can I suspend time?