Well it was a better start to this day. After a long, lovely chat on Skype to my partner I was able to have a hot shower. Oh joy and the hair was washed to. So I sallied forth feeling like a new woman.
The first stop was the passticerria for macchiato and brioche then onto the bus into town. Here I discovered that the reason I was not able to go up into the Dome or down into the Crypt yesterday was because I was in the wrong Cathedral. Instead of the Duomo, The Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore, I was in The Cathedral di Santa Maria Novella. Oh how easy it is for a woman on her own to become confused.
So after I went into the same Cathedral asking for directions to the Crypt and Dome I was told I was in the wrong church. How embarrassing.
Undaunted I set out again on foot to find the right church. You may wonder how I became confused when the dome towers above Florence – but I did so there!
The historical centre of Florence became a World Heritage Site in 2007. Unfortunately my photography is not good enough to show this plaque. But if you click on the image a larger image appears and you will be able to read the words. Only found that out after I published the post .
I wandered along the beautiful little lanes of Florence and marvelled at the number of people there. All tourists many with guides but equally as many in small groups. This is not really the tourist season and so I am glad I am here now and not then.
Anyway back to my story. I eventually found the right Cathedral and went inside. There was complete silence while the many, many people there gazed in wonder and awe at the works of art. I think it wouldn’t matter how many times you saw these wonders you would never get tired of them.
I did go down into the Crypt where Brunelleschi, the architect of the Duomo, is buried. The crypt holds the ruins of the Church of Santa Reparata, the original church on the site.
But when I enquired about going up inside the dome the very nice young man in charge asked first if I were “solo?” and then suggested that it would not be a good idea for me to go up the 463 steps to the spiralling dome. I didn’t bother to ask about the Campanile as I was sure to get the same response. Oh well, perhaps when I come back with my partner?
Lunch today was not in the same class as yesterday. When I returned to the apartment last night and did the conversion I found that lunch had cost the equivalent of $NZ49/$US40 so I had to rethink lunch today. And I chanced upon a lovely little Gelateria where I had a gelato and a sit down all for $NZ4.10/$US4.
Then back on my feet and off to the Bargello, a former barracks and prison. Here is another magnificent art collection including works by Michelangelo, Donatello and Cellini but I shall hae to go back to spend more time amongst this priceless art.
And everywhere I turned there was another wonderful thing to see, another street to go down, another square to cross. One could spend months here and not even see a tenth of the treasures.
The streets are home to many sellers of leather goods, obviously and the streets are also lined with high class shops But I am not here to shop, so apart from buying some jewellery for my daughter and a friend, I resisted the temptation.
And then I discovered this pig. I was told that everyone had to pat the pig but nobody seemed to know why. So like a good tourist I patted the pig.
So after another full day delighting in the treasures of this Renaissance City I found my way back again to the station to get my bus. If I am honest here I would tell you that I did find myself going past the same shops and entering the same square a few times but that’s part of the fun. And in the event I asked a handsome young policeman “Stazionne?” in answer he gave me directions in Italian with the help of many hand movements. How lovely.
I arrived back here at the apartment, sated in beauty, tired and needing a cup of tea. I am English after all. And I have decided that I obviously have not been walking enough recently – my thighs are letting me know that I have walked for about 5 hours each of the last two days. This must get better!
And a few more photos for you.
So thanks for travelling with me and exploring this fantastic city. I will tell you more tomorrow.
Post script – Thanks to Nancy at http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/ for the story about the pig – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porcellino
- Florence Day 2 (growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com)
- Florence Day 1 (growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com)
- Day Two in Florence, Italy: Trip Itinerary (traveltriptips.wordpress.com)
How clever you are to be doing all thiis on your own, I wished I was with you but once the last test is done tomorrow I shall be closer to the results and nearer to flying out to you. I love the photographs oh what am I missing. Love you loads xx
We can have a lot of fun exploring together. 🙂
What a day!
Here’s the story behind patting the pig:
Thanks for that Nancy and yes it was another full on day. In fact I am just about to climb into my bed at 9.45 pm,
Sounds like another glorious day. By the way, the center of Cuenca is also a UNESCO site–for the colonial architecture, I believe. The gelato looks like a pretty yummy lunch to me.
Hugs from Ecuador,
I really don’t know much about Cuenca or Equador. Sometime when I get home and have Florence out of my system I shall investigate more of this city and country in which you and Sara are living now.
And hugs from Florence from your New Zealand friend. J
Thanks for the information on the Porcellino – I first came across him at Chatsworth, then in Aix-en-Provence and finally in Munich, and have been puzzled at his ubiquity! Now I have yet another reason to go to Florence one of these days, to see the original!
Well it was Nancy that gave us the answer. I didn’t realise there were replicas in other places. Interesting what one learns from our blogging friends.
And there are many many reasons to come to this wonderful city. Do come. Lunch is on me.
I’ll be right over! If I don’t make it, you’ll have to eat 2 portions 🙂
Hello Judith, Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience, Florence is so amazing and you are doing it so well,not sure how you can walk for 5 hours, you will come home very fit.
Hopefully Jon sells his house, as he is so keen to come to Italy, think he prefers it to New Zealand.
Take care, love Gail
Thanks Gail. Am enjoying it but wish I had company to share it with. Yes hopefully Jon will sell the house and join me soon.
You take care too
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I’m so enjoying your missives from Florence. You’re on such a wonderful adventure. This takes me back to my trip to Florence years ago. I did climb to the top of the dome by myself, so when you’re ready go back there. It’s a lot of steps, but the view was marvelous.
I think the young man was concerned that I would have a problem – I am after all 75 years old although I think I am about 50. Shall make do with the wonderful pictures of the view that I bought.
I am glad you are enjoying my walks around Florence.
I was in Florence years ago too. But damned pity was a took the kids(they were very little then and only interested in gelato) and didn`t take the camera. Damn, damn and double damn. But I am enjoying this revisit through your eyes and looking forward to visiting that wonderful city again with the (much bigger, more interested) kids!
Yes I know what you mean. We took our kids to many places when perhaps they were too young to enjoy them. I would like the to be here with me now to enjoy this wonderful city. Thanks for the comment.
Florence looks amazing. I would to visit one day. I’m enjoying your posts as we travel with you.
When you do your European experience be sure to add it to the itinerary.
What a lovely trip you are having. I’m so pleased for you, and Skype: isn’t it a wonder when you are away from loved ones
Thanks for the comment Peter. I haven’t used Skype before but am now sold on it. 🙂
Thanks for the beautiful pictures, Judith, and showing us a bit of Florence. It feels like I could have spent the day with you. Five hours walking would make me feel tired too! Not to speak of going up inside the dome. I think you were wise to put this off for another day. It’s probably better if you don’t have to do it by yourself. It’s good to see that you’re enjoying to get to know a lot of new things.
Thanks Uta. I am having fun and today had another full day being blown away by the beauty that surrounds me.
You seem to be having a great time.
I wish you much joy for the remainder of your trip.
Thank Elizabeth. It is so different being in Florence this time. There is no rush and I can take my time to enjoy all the beauty around me. 🙂
You keep finding your way back, that is a good thing! There is so much to see there. I know the feeling of being in the wrong place. Our writers conference was held in the tallest building in our city, and I had the hardest time getting myself in the right parking garage to get there without too much walking (alone, after dark).
Well each time I do I give myself a pat on the back. I am beginning to recognise places and so know where I am.
That would have been scary finding your way back to the right parking garage late at night on your own. But you found it.
Sounds like you’re really finding your feet now. When we’re away Hubby insists I make a little conversion chart, just about credit card size to fit into my purse. Then if I’m about to make any rash purchases I can just check against the chart if I would really spend that much if I were at home.
I remember a tv program about patting a bronze dog. I don’t remember much except it was an experiment. They put a bronze dog in the centre of a small town and organised for a number of people to drop by and pat it. Soon word spread and people heard about the dog and made special visits to see it and pat it. No one really knew the origins of the dog, they just knew it was in this little villiage and was for patting. That is, no one except me, and now you, and also the presenter, the camera crew … oh, and however many people tuned in to watch the program.
When the program makers had finished, they left the dog behind for the people to enjoy. I wonder if anyone is still visiting it just to pat it today. 🙂
I hadn’t heard abut the pig until Jon told me to look out for it. And of course, have never heard the tale of the dog. I wonder if it is still an attraction in that small town. Thanks for the comment Sallyann.