Published: June 18th 2012June 17th 2012
Back to Florence again. The road is easier this time, getting to know the vagaries of Italian road works and speed limits....
To the parking plaza again and intot the hop on bus to the city. We are heading towards the Ponte Vecchi (famous bridge of Florence which is enclosed by jewellers shops and has a second level so the Duke could walk from his palace to the church without people knowing he was there). Not as interesting when on the actual bridge but still interesting.
Walk the covered arcade to the Uffizzi museum (more paintings and statues). Guess what - a queue that is expected to be 60 to 90 mins. Stand in the line (hotter today so shade is appreciated). The couple in front of us are in animated discussion about the time waiting. Turns out they are from LA (originally from Iran). Theah planned to do this place and then David. They had been on a tour yesterday and spent a little while at David but he was unhappy with that time and wanted to go back.
After about 60 mins she had spat the dummy but he wasn't giving up. Eventually we got in. Saw her later sitting waiting for him. Told us there were no more museums for them and if he wasn't back to her by 1600 she was off shopping.
We enjoyed our walk around - not too sure about them. Got to see a Leonardo da Vinci painting that is supposed to be an original and also a Michelangelo. Out into the heat and heading towards a market to look for things to buy. As we walk there is a lot of noise and coming towards us are a lot of people in costume with horses, drums, etc.
We stand and watch for quite a while. Seems they have some local games where teams play a sort of rugby with no rules (gladiatorial stuff). The dudes in costume (ranging from leather to full iron body armour) look like they are going to melt. The procession seems never ending.
Finally the street sweeper comes at the end of the parade to clean up after the horses and we head off as well. Find the market which is just like the StKilda esplanade but the stalls are pushing lots of leather and t shirts.
Back to the bus for a tour but find out they are delayed because someone has parked a car in the wrong place and the buses can't get down the street. Eventually the bus arrives and we do the long tour of Florence and Fiosele (town out of Florence which looks down into the city). Only issue is that the upper deck is loaded with women on a hens night. Lots of yelling and screaming so we decide to stay downstairs.
Back to the car and drive down towards the town to park nearer to our next destination. A night of opera (Italian style). We found a brochure that advertised a short night of opera arias performed in an old church.
When on holidays you should always do something that you haven't done before, so opera is it.... Find the park, and the church and go in. About 25 people watching a female soprano accompanied by a pianist). Acoustics in the church were very clear, almost wondered if they were mic'd... Some of her high notes almost got to the tinnitus variety. Interesting night.
Back to the car and off to San Gimignano. Very late so decide not to eat. Arrive home close to midnight and sit around the pool having a cold beer and some pistachios we had bought from Switzerland. A pleasant way to end a busy day.