Saturday 21 st September
It was another stunning warm day brewing here early and I took a quick walk to the Mercato Centrale before heading out for my 10.45 am walking tour. I would return here later today looking for bananas and a leather jacket!
Florence is full to capacity! Jam packed with so so many tourists. You need to add ‘Florence walking minutes’ to ‘Google walking minutes’ here. You have to zig zag your way everywhere.
I caught up with our small group of 6 for our Guru walking tour at the Pitti Palace. The Pitti family were trying to compete with the Medici family and so built this spectacular Palace but the Medici’s ended up buying it from them. Cosimo Medici wanted to connect his new palace to the Town Hall, Palazzo Vechio, and so had an elevated corridor built between the two structures and we traced the winding path of this corridor during our walk. This corridor is referred to as Vasari’s Corridor after Giorgio Vasari who built this structure. Our guide advised us that this corridor is being prepared to open to the public and this should be completed by 2020. Once this corridor was built Cosimo Medici didn’t enjoy the smells rising up from the butchers etc on the Ponte Vechio below so they were moved out and that is when the gold and silversmiths moved in.
The tour had a focus on The Renaissance and so our guide, Arthur, took us through the streets of Florence and offered us some interesting background to many of the buildings and works of art from this perspective. Some of the more interesting bits of information that stuck in my head include:
- Florence: dates back to 59 BC and was originally a large expanse of flowers, hence Florence.
- Michelangelo: created The David to be located 15 m high on the Duomo.
- The David was placed in the Piazza della Signoria as a signal for Rome. David’s gaze faced south and was strategically done so as a warning to Rome, in true David and Goliath style.
- Michelangelo was not happy The David was placed in Piazza della Signoria.
- Santa Croce is meant to be spectacular inside and is the resting site of Michelangelo, Rossini, Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei.
- San Lorenzo Basilica: was financed by the Medici family and was their parish Church. It was meant to be designed and built by Michelangelo. However, Michelangelo was not happy with and left the project and Florence without completing the church.
- Best Panini place in Florence: All’antico Vinaio: was one but now is four shops.
It was a great tour and well worth doing. The walk finished at around 1.30 pm and, luckily for me, right at Piazza Santa Maria Novella, so I headed back to the apartment for a quick change of clothes. After that, I has some serious shopping to attempt and was fairly successful: two tops and one leather jacket. This all left me a bit thirsty and rather hungry so I headed into the Mercato Centrale, again, for a banana. Instead, I ended up with a meat and cheese plate and an Aperol Spritz! I went on to explore the upper layer of these markets before heading home and, in doing so, found a great venue to have Sunday lunch with the boys on their return from cycling Tuscany. It’s a great place with lots of food, wine, beer and gelato stalls and with a great buzzy vibe. I sampled a gelato and, by then, was exhausted after a rather full day so headed home. I had planned to venture out for dinner but was still well satisfied from my large lunch so spent another night at home.