Published: October 6th 2011October 3rd 2011
Another extremly impressive church.
Day started with a walking tour of the city. Our first stop was the Academy Museum which houses the original statue of David by Michelangelo. It is a very small museum, we entered the first room where there were a number of paintings by ‘lesser known’ artists plus the Giambolonga’s famous sculpture Rape of the Sabine’s. It was a very dramatic scene, there is a real dark side to European history which is depicted in much of the art we saw.
We then turned the corner into the next room which was dominated by the original statue of David. We say original because there is a replica in the square where the original used to stand. As you would expect the statue is HUGELY impressive. Interestingly it is actually made with very poor quality marble and it was a real effort to minimise the impact of the veins which run through the block and signify a weakness in the marble.
David’s head and hands are disproportionately big while the rest of his body is in perfect proportion. This signifies he slayed Goliath using his hands (slingshot) and by using his head/intelligence to identify and take advantage
Florence is the home of cartoon character Pinocchio
of the only weakness he saw –Goliaths temple was unprotected. It was another WOW moment, one of many on tour so far.
FLORENCE CITY CENTRE
From there we saw the main Cathedral in the central square - Santa Maria del Fiore. The outside was primarily white, green and red marble which was used to great effect, having said that we are close to being ‘churched out’ so after a good look from the outside we were happy to move on. We looked at one of the markets where there was a statue of a Wild Boar at the entrance, our tour finished at a Leather manufacturing/retail outlet. Florence is the centre of Italy’s leather industry. Jeanette hoped to find a handbag but unfortunately couldn’t find anything she liked. We went back to the market to search for a bag and some souvenirs; fortunately there was a nice street side restaurant next to the market so Don and I had a quiet beer while Jeanette and Sue looked to see if they could find anything. They joined us and we had a really nice (and inexpensive) lunch.
We then headed back to the Hotel so we could
Dining Out Tuscany
A warm welcome from our host
pack up some of our stuff and send it home, our suitcases are bulging at the seams and we need to lighten them before we fly from London to Cinque Terre at the end of this tour. We packed up a bunch of souvenirs – including my mug collection (one from every country we have visited) and headed off to the Post Office near the Hotel. Interesting experience, the girl behind the counter couldn’t speak a word of English and the forms we had to fill in were in Italian only!
Fortunately there was a guy waiting to be served who spoke English and he helped us with the form – given the general level of confusion I reckon there is a much chance of the package getting home to our address as there is of Wales winning the Rugby World Cup currently taking place in New Zealand. Not impossible but highly unlikely, still we are backing the Italian Postal Service to come through for us! Unlike the UK we had to give a local (Florence) address for the package to be returned to if it doesn’t reach New Zealand, the only address we could give was the Hotel,
We were entertained by a classic Italian guitarist who also threw in some Deep Purple and AC/DC
as much as we could we explained the situation to them – as Tour Leader Brendan would say – watch this space.
DINNER IN THE TUSCAN HILLS
For dinner we went out to a restaurant in the Tuscan hills – only about 20 minutes from Florence. When we arrived the owner met us, gave a personal welcome and everyone was invited to sample his special Vino. We dined outside and had a guitarist and singers serenade us at various times throughout the evening. In addition to the romantic stuff the guitarist gave us a burst of Deep Purple –Smoke on the Water and AC/DC –Thunderstruck – OUTSTANDING. We had a combination buffet/mixed grill dinner which was very enjoyable.
Unfortunately things were just starting to get rocking when we had to board the bus and head back to base. On the way home the bus ended up in a Mexican Stand Off with another bus on one of the narrow streets. Two Italian bus drivers waving their arms and shouting a lot neither wanting to lose face and back up so both coaches could go on their way. It was all very humorous; eventually our driver Mario ‘stared down’ his opposite and we were away. While all this was going on a queue of cars built up behind the coaches adding to the confusion – and noise! Italian driving is a whole different story believe me!