Check it of the list…. Florence is now done and we off to our next stop, Lucca tomorrow afternoon. Florence has been great, we took it all in at a leisurely pace and opted to just wander the streets viewing the sights of the city as a five day resident. Our Airbnb apartment was fabulously situated, we just had to walk out our front door, over one of the bridges and we were in the thick of the historic center.
Florence is a renaissance beauty, known for its many museums and collections of priceless artwork. But you don’t have to visit a museum to see it’s history and culture, its everywhere in the streets. From the Piazza Della Signorina you can look in any direction and you’ll see a marble statue or fountain amidst the grand architecture. Works such as the Fountain of Neptune in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, all the statues housed in the Loggia or the copy of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ in the square. If you want to see the real one you can walk a few steps to the Galleria Accademia or visit the Uffizzi right beside it with renowned works of art such as Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’. There is a modern gallery, a natural history gallery, a huge collection procured at the Pitti Palace or many other private museums. You can gorge on art history here but we choose to just partake in the gratis works on the streets or in the churches. We had planned to visit Ufizzi but it had a huge lineup on Sunday (and closed Monday) so we passed. Yes it’s busy even in early December, there are people everywhere. Our favorite thing was to just grab a glass of wine and sit and people watch or get lost in the quieter side-streets, exploring off the beaten path.
We had a particularly beautiful day on Sunday, the sun was out, it was warm and not a cloud in the sky. Such an enjoyable day out just wandering the streets, we would make a short stop for an espresso, then wander some more. We walked again and stopped for a longer stay at an outdoor cafe and enjoyed a beer in the park watching the locals doing the same. We walked through some markets, a few piazzas, gawked at a statue or two and back home to make dinner.
After dinner we headed back out for an evening walk amid the streets lined with Christmas lights and found ourselves in the designer district. We watched an older couple exit from the Chopard ‘happy diamond’ store which was closed but obviously kept open just for them. Someone deliverd boxes of pizza to them in the store which they took with them, brought out by the help with their parcels as they climbed into the Masserati parked out front. Janet thought her shoes were super tacky but they were probably thousand dollar, designer tacky..what do us mere peasants know about fashion? I got it on video though, sneak a look below. We saw Christmas shoppers with bags of Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci…imagine being able to do your Christmas shopping here. But this is a world class city so the wealthy probably come here in droves.
After walking the gauntlet through ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’ we made our way to a Christmas market, rated as one of the top 10 in Italy. It’s actually a German style market with goods from all over Europe called the Weihnachtsmark. Janet bought a pair of slippers made in Tyrol northern Italy, some gingerbread and xmas ornaments, while I choose to indulge in some Brule hot, spiced wine and Bavarian strudel. (After writing this I realize how much drinking and eating we are doing, oh my, we’ll have to get this in check!)
Below is a short video of Florence, no music so you can take in the sights and sound of the city. Here is a link to the photo gallery for all the photos.