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)