Thursday, October 30, 2008

Firenze (Florence) - The City of Art and the Renaissance

After staying in Rome for a few days we took a high speed train to Florence (or Firenze as it is really called in Italy).

Florence is the city of the Renaissance, the city of art, fine leather, fine jewellery and of the big names both of today and of the past. Galileo Galilei did much of his work in this region as did Michelangelo who is said to have tested his theory of the first flying machine in the hills near the city. I suppose he got bored just carving statues and painting the Sistine Chapel in Rome!!

The big Italian fashion names all reside here too. Around every corner you see a designer store, Chanel, Trussardi, Valentino, Enrico Coveri, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Gucci and many more. Of course I stayed away from those stores, I need a pay rise even to be able to afford to step in to those stores. I did however have a look in the Guess shop. I am mad about Guess bags and accessories and the store had some good prices. Some bags were only 100 EU ($200) but I managed to hold back and avoid buying "yet another bag".

After arriving in the city, we took a taxi to our apartment "Stella Firenze". I have not posted photos because of poor lighting. The place was nice enough but at 190EU a night, we expected a little more. Newly renovated, it probably was not more than 20 square metres in total as are most apartments in the cities here (I can't believe people actually live in these all the time! - we are so lucky in Australia to have the amount of space we have.). It was quite dark (lacking in natural light) and little air flow. However being a stone's throw from the Duomo we saved a lot in taxis because we have walked everywhere.

We brought the rain with us from Sardinia too so despite being wet alot, we walked everywhere, got lost alot and found a lot of great places away from the main tourist drag. It is hard to explain the crowds over here. Thousands of people everywhere. We found it more crowded than Rome.

We also ate very well here. Trevor continued to try pasta dishes whilst Michael ate his favourites "round pasketi"or translated for those of you who no longer speak 4 year old "round spaghetti". He calls it round as opposed to "flat pasketi" which he uses to refer to linguine or fettuccine. The photos show Michael tucking in at a restaurant. Trevor liked the Pasta Amatriciana which he likened more to Mum's Arrabbiata as it had bacon and onion in it. We enjoyed Tuscan wine and lovely food, all in all, not a bad way to live!!

We took the Hop on Hop Off bus which I had pre booked and got a trip around town and to a town nearby called Fiesole. It took us up into the mountains to see a wonderful scenery of autumn green, gold and auburns. Pity it rained...... we did not last long in the open top section of the double decker bus much to Michael's disgust.

We went to visit the Duomo (the Cathedral). It is hard to explain how massive this thing is. The sheer size is overwhelming. It is made of Italian (Tuscan) marble and painted with exquisite detail. We decided to attempt another one of the long lines to get in to see the dome. The dome, designed and built by Italian architect "Brunelleschi". The dome itself took 15 years to build. It is 91 metres high and 45 metres wide. After lining up we realised that the line up was actually to climb to the top of the dome. 463 steps later in a narrow winding concrete staircase with a 4 year old, we made it to the top. Great to see the painted dome so close but I was happy to get back down and out of the enclosed space of the staircase. Michael fared reasonably well considering!! We still have sore muscles from that climb. The Cathedral shown below is in two photos, I have tried to show its grandeur but I am sure it does not do it justice.

Below is a photo of the dome itself. Unbelievable!

Video: Michael Daley Street Talk - The Duomo of Florence

Video footage of the Duomo with Michael giving commentary.

We decided to try our luck and head down to the "Galleria dell'Accademmia" which is a museum that houses the famous statue of David carved by Michelangelo himself. We were a little worried after reading that sometimes you have to wait up to 3 hours in line but we only waited 40 minutes so thank goodness for small miracles! Michael whinged the whole time...... No photos allowed however.

We then walked down to the "Ponte Vecchio" the most famous bridge in Florence. Ponte Vecchio is famous for its design (there are shops built on the bridge) and its jewelery. The finest jewelers in all of Florence showcase their award winning pieces. I managed to buy a few trinkets but for the most part we just looked in amazement both at their beauty and the prices. The photos below show the bridge and shots of us on it.

Video: Michael Daley's Street Talk in Florence in the Piazza del Duomo and introduces the Baptistry

Michael introduces the Florence Baptistry, it is a religious monument dedicated to Baptisms. He tries to explain its 4 year old of course!

We took a day trip to Pisa which was Michael's favourite to see the Leaning Tower. Again the rain followed us but it soon cleared up except it would have been nice to see it in the sunshine!

Video: Michael Daley presents the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Baptistry and the Ancient City Walls

1 comment:

Shiarne said...

Hi Michael Andrew Daley. It's Shiarne here. I love you and miss you at Day Care. I want to come on holiday with you and you can come on my holiday with me. I want you to come back quickly because I like playing with you and want you to stay here forever. I hope you like your holiday. Miss you. Love Shiarne

Hi Ally & Trevor, I have just typed exactly what Shiarne wanted to say to Michael, so if it seems a bit strange - that's why. Sounds like your having an amazing holiday. Thanks for the blogs, enjoy reading them. Take Care Michelle Billinger