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Florence (Firenze)

5-12: Depart from Roma-Stazione Termini catch train to Florence Stazione di Santa Maria Novella to Merlini Hotel

We took the train from Rome to Florence and this time it was a wonderful ride! When we weren't in tunnels :( we were treated to a gorgeous red poppy filled scenic delight. Villas, ruins, hill cities, more poppies, Common Kestrels (Falco tinunculus) and Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo) and possibly a Red Kite ( Milvus milvus) or maybe a Black Kite (Milvus migrans) ... hard to be sure when the train is screaming through at 100 plus MPH ... just wonderful. I was almost sad to have the ride end. Ah, but we were now in Firenze!

We found our hotel (3rd floor which really means 4th floor because they don't "count" the first floor???), no elevator. We got used to it but did stay away from the hotel until ALL of our days travels were completed. Although it was a hike back to the room each night, we did have a great view.

View in the morning with the shutters open.
View from the hotel of the Duomo and Campanile at sunset.
View looking left out the window at sunset. Yes, we were very taken with the view.

Babs in Florence! Happy Girl!! Yum Yum!

Florence is a small city. Most everything is within walking distance.

Out walking our first day brought us right to the Duomo and Baptistry....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
More Duomo....Marble the colors of white, red, and green are the colors of the Italian flag.
Duomo, Baptistry, and Apse in Piazza di San Giovanni
Into the Baptistry for my first time...I cried. Oh, the beauty. This is the ceiling, all gilded Byzantine mosaics from the 11th century. I had seen the Ghiberti doors last time, but not gotten inside.
Interior of the Duomo..dome completed in 1434 engineered by Brunelleschi.
Duomo Ceiling
Baptistry, Duomo, and Giotto's Campinile

Yes, I am totally in love with the Duomo, and its environs. When I see any other church I must compare and the Duomo comes out best! The colors, the detail, the artistry, everything is exquisite!

Duomo Detail - Click here for a larger image of the detail.
Duomo Detail - Click here for a larger image of the detail.
Duomo Detail - Click here for a larger image of the detail.
Duomo Detail; the dome above the saint's scuplture has stars painted overhead. Click here for a larger image of the detail.
Demonstration at the Duomo complete with hammer and sickle flag and music.
13th century Palazzo Vecchio next to the Uffizzi with the copy of Michaelangelo's David in front. We went to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, which is behind the Duomo, to see the real David. Fantastic! They are restoring it and have a great display area, well lit and good information about the restoration process.
Banco di BdS--I'm everywhere and I have a bank! It's really the Banco di Sicillia...better not fuss with them!
I loved all the tiny cars in Florence; here's another that is small enough to park with the motorcycles. There were many vespas and other motor bikes and many three-wheeled trucks. The streets are so small that an American SUV would probably not fit! We did, however see one Chrysler PT-Cruiser in Florence, as well as a few in Rome, and several in both Paris and Amsterdam...no accounting for taste.
Just down the road from the Uffizzi is the Ponte Vecchio crossing the Arno river to the Oltrarno and beyond. Florence is a very small city!
Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) outside behind the shops.
Ponte Vecchio - the shops, mostly (95%) jewelry by edict.
View down the Arno from the Ponte Vecchio
View down the River Arno from the Ponte Vecchio
Polizia that patrolled from the Arno side of the Ponte Vecchio back to the Piazza del Duomo.
The lovely horses were very patient with tourists and not at all camera shy.
The Polizia rested themselves and the horses in the shade of the Duomo Campanile.
Back to work!
On the way to the Pitti Palace, we snuck a peek into one of the gated villas. Lush gardens inside; wonder who lives there...
 
Lion on the front of the Pitti Palace-front view   Side view

Where the Uffizzi Gallery was a disappointment because many of the works that I had hoped to view were in rooms that were being restored, the Pitti Palace was a joy. The lighting was very good on most of the artwork and the ceilings were magnificent, not to mention the fabulous inlaid stonework tables. A site not to be missed!

View from the front of the Pitti Palace. Notice the lack of crowds; we got there nice and early for our visit.
Fountain at the back of the Pitti Palace. The exterior of the building was not particularly attractive; it had a fortified look.
View from the Boboli Gardens that sprawled above the back of the Pitti Palace.
A closer view of the back of one of the Pitti Palace wings and more of Florence shot from the Boboli Gardens.
Another shot of the back of the Pitti Palace and more Florence.
A view of the Duomo and Campanile from the Boboli Gardens.

And, sadly, it was time to leave Florence and head up to Paris and the Musee D'Orsay!

5-16: Leave from Florence Stazione S.M.N. overnight train to Paris Gare de Paris-Bercy

Onto Paris!!!

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