florence piazza della signoria italy

Florence in October – Day 2

florence piazza della signoria italy

I’m great at making plans with my itineraries, maps and addresses, but sometimes on holiday one must learn to relax and go with the flow i.e. not be too bothered with getting up early to go sight-seeing.  By the time we rolled out of bed and strolled out the door, we were very late visiting the Medici Chapels.  Luckily the big attractions there are tombs of the long-time dead, so it’s not like we’d kept them waiting.

Tomb of Giuliano de Medici featuring Night and Day by Michelangelo in the Medici Chapel, Florence, Italy

Tomb of Giuliano de Medici featuring Night and Day by Michelangelo.

I don’t know why the breasts were so crazy on women in Michelangelo’s sculptures.  I get that maybe androgyny was the ideal of the time, and perhaps these figures weren’t meant to be realistic, but those breasts are just ridiculous, like botched plastic surgery.  Here’s an interesting blog post about why Michelangelo’s women are so muscular.

Bargello sculpture in Florence, Italy

Oceanus by Giambologna at the Bargello.

We then visited the Museo Bargello, possibly my favourite art museum in Florence, displaying the largest Italian collection of gothic and Renaissance sculptures..  Formerly a prison and barracks, the word itself literally means “castle” or “fortified tower”.

Cannon with head of St. Paul in Bargello, Florence, Italy

St. Paul in a cannon.

The collection at the Bargello includes Donatello’s David, plus Michelangelo’s Bacchus and Virgin and Child.  After checking out sculptures, we stopped for some gelato and more sweet treats at a patisserie down the street from the apartment.

Gelato at Grom in Florence, Italy.

Crema di Grom (egg cream with corn biscuits and Colombian chocolate chips), pistachio and persimmon.

Pastries in Florence, Italy

Our next stop was the famous Galleria degli Uffizi, one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the West (closed on Mondays).  Back in the 16th century the palace served as the offices for Florentine magistrates (“uffizi” is Italian for “offices”).

Sculpture of Giotto di Bondone in Florence, Italy

Giotto di Bondone, Florentine painter and architect.  The bell tower of the Florence Cathedral is his work.  He reminds me of Kurtwood Smith (below)…

Kurtwood Smith, Red Forman, That '70s Show

Kurtwood Smith played Red Forman (Eric’s dad) in That ’70s Show.

As with major attractions, I’ve heard horror stories about the queues getting in to the Uffizi in summer.  Good thing it was October and we chose to go in the late afternoon.  Without a reservation and with a bit of good luck, we waited only 10 minutes.  There’s so much to see you could spend the whole day here.  Highlights include Botticelli’s Primavera, Da Vinci’s The Annunciation, and Titian’s Venus.  Whilst there, keep an eye out for a fantastic view of the Ponte Vecchio.

Uffizi gallery view of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy

View from the Uffizi.

By closing time we were all museum-ed out and had dinner at a pizzeria recommended not only by a bonafide Florentine, but the cast of Jersey Shore as well — O’ Vesuvio.

Pizzeria O' Vesuvio in Florence, Italy

We were told by our apartment host that this pizzeria makes some of the best pizzas in Italy.  I honestly can’t remember what we both had, just that we were a little let down.  Yes, the pizzas were good but nothing to write home about.  Sorry!

After dinner we had more ice-cream at Gelateria dei Neri — a triple shot of strawberry cheesecake, strawberry and mango.  It was soo good.  We even recommended the cheesecake flavour to an American student pondering the wide selection.  The lucky girl gets to try them all at some point during her 6-month stay in Florence.

To burn off the calories, we crossed the Ponte Vecchio and strolled along the other side of the Arno River.  The view is wonderful.

Ponte Vecchio by night in Florence, Italy

View of the Ponte Vecchio by night.

Cantina del Gelato in Florence, Italy

On the other side of the river is another delightful gelateria called Cantina del Gelato, where we had the mango and passion fruit.  See this post for a list of gelaterias we visited.  Ice-cream again?  My philosophy is when you’re on holiday, what counts aren’t the calories but the experience, and I’m sticking to that.

Read about the third day of our trip in Florence.

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