Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo

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Apparently the overlook at Piazzale Michaelangelo is THE place to be for sunset in Florence. It is pretty much mobbed when we arrive.

Photo by Lane

The view is lovely, the light continually changing as the sun moves through the evening’s clouds. (They have great clouds here, although the fact that it tends to rain only when the sun is shining is a bit disconcerting!) I can see why everyone, including brides in need of the best wedding shots, shows up here!

It’s worth the walk back down dark stairways to stay for the whole show, although we leave quickly once the sun as set and the rain begins - no umbrella :-(

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Solitude is Golden

Previous post: Introduction to Florence

Ah, Sunday morning in Florence. The churches will be filled with worshipers this morning, so the city – and particularly the plaza around the duomo – should be peaceful for once. It is just a short hike across the Ponte Vecchio and that should be peaceful too, since most of the jewelry stores that line the bridge will be closed at this time on a Sunday morning.

It’s a good theory.

Soon, however, the street begins to fill with runners and then a veritable sea of people dressed in matching tee-shirts. We have stumbled into the path of the Florence version of Walk for the Cure.

I want to cry.

It’s impossible to move, so we duck into an open jewelry store, Diamante, to escape the teeming hoard.

Of course, while I’m in here I do a little shopping. . . after all, one must be polite when seeking refuge, right?

I leave with just one little pair of gold earrings as a souvenir.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Introduction to Florence

Previous post: A Balcony with a Garden

Despite the temptation to just sit on the balcony, we decide to explore a bit. We begin at the Ponte San Trinita and the surrounding streets.

It is a lovely evening, busy with other people out enjoying the evening.

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A Balcony with a Garden! (and a Garden View Too)

Previous post: A Few Parting Images

Our room at the Hotel Annalena opens onto a plant-filled balcony that overlooks a private garden.

I’m not sure I’ll want to leave long enough to explore the rest of Florence!

A Few Parting Images

Previous post: Good-bye, Orvieto

Having sent off much of the rest of our group, we have a bit more time to wander through the fog on our own.

It’s a quiet morning, with only a few people going about their business in the city.

We wander through the Medieval Quarter and down along the city wall.

The path is lined with trees with odd-looking, spiky pods. Lane says they are chestnuts. I didn't know chestnuts looked so strange.

We take a break at an overlook above the Etruscan necropolis at the base of the wall, without going to the site itself (which Lane tells me is a much longer walk than it looks to be).

Time to head back into the heart of the city.

We duck into the church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami, which is dedicated to St Joseph the Carpenter.

It’s a rather odd place – it feels more like a theater than a Baroque church.

We wander back past the Duomo where it appears another wedding will soon occur.

Behind the church I notice that the path is paved with carved stones. . . they remind me of grave markers.

I wonder what they are and where they came from.

The sun has begun to peek out from behind the clouds and, with the dark sky as a backdrop, it seems a perfect time to make another ascent up the clock tower.

Of course, by the time I actually reach the top, the sun has vanished again. Oh well, the view is beautiful from here and it is nice to have one last chance to enjoy it before leaving.

And finally it is really time to say good-bye to this delightful place.