Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another Big Day - this time in Florence

Sincere apologies for the dry spell. We had a holiday this past week and as any good Airline employee, Brian & I jetted off somewhere exotic. This trip was to Kenya for 5 days on safari in the Masai Mara game reserve. Photos and stories to come ... just as soon as I finish up our trip to Italy!

Our next big Italian adventure took place in Florence. To get to Florence, we took the 45 minute train from our villa, which was in  Rignano. We were told it would be much easier than trying to find and pay for a place to park in Florence, and it was pretty easy and relatively clean and comfortable. We arrived at the train station and with the help of our cell phone GPS, we headed out to find the meeting spot for our Segway tour of the city.
Florence is a huge city with lots of churches and museums to visit. Our segway tour took us to most of the hot spots while our guide gave us some of the history of the city and the Medici family. First, though, we had to get used to driving the segways. If you've never tried one, we highly recommend it. They're a really fun way to tour a city and you get used to them fairly quickly.

 Here is a collection of photos from the tour. I wish I could tell you what each one is, but I've forgotten already! I've got to learn to start taking notes! :)

 The left, in the photo above, is one of the replicas of the Statue of David. We didn't end up seeing the original as it would have meant another trip to Florence and we decided to spend our time visiting a few other cities instead. So we were happy to see this one. On the right is Hercules.

The next photos are a couple of the beautiful sculptures in one of the squares. There are lots of squares and amazing sculpture all over Florence. Out in the air with little protection - it's incredible to think about how things must have been at the height of the Renaissance in Florence.

After a bit of a break and lunch, we headed to the Uffizi Gallery for the next adventure of the day. We had a guided tour through the Vasari Corridor and the Uffizi Gallery, which was interesting, but to be honest, a little long if you're not a well educated art enthusiast. We decided that we would have liked the "Art for Dummies" tour a bit better. :)

The Uffizi Gallery is a collection of art the Medici family amassed and is open to the public. The place was mad packed and stifling hot in some rooms, so not as enjoyable as it might have been. We did see some really amazing paintings, however, couldn't take any photos.

Then we had a tour of the Vasari Corridor, which is not open to the public and only accessible through a tour like the one we were on. The corridor was built so the family wouldn't have to walk on the streets of Florence to get to work each morning. As you'll see from the photos, it connects two buildings and offers some nice views of the river and the city. The corridor itself houses the largest collection of artist self-portraits in the world - interesting, but not enough for the two hours it took to walk through the place. Still, we got some nice photos of the city.

We ended the tour outside this grotto, which is near one of the entrances to the Bobbili Gardens.

We were then treated to some Proseco, flatbread and olives at a little cafe by our tour guide and then decided to skip dinner in the city and head back to Rignano and our villa. Another big day of Italian adventure.

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