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Published: October 3rd 2018
Peggy slept in while John went out for a ramble around the centro storico, taking pictures of the Duomo and the main streets and piazzas. After meeting up for breakfast atop the hotel (overlooking the roofs of the city and the Palazzo Vecchio (city hall) we walked to Café Rivoires for coccolatta compagna (sp), Peggy’s favorite from when she was a student here in Florence. According to legend, one cup will keep you going for five hours. There certainly is enough chocolate and whipped cream to make this a reality. Buzzed we arrived at the Bargello, a wonderful medieval fortress, to take in some of our favorite statuary. This fabulous building has a great pedigree, as city hall when the guilds ran things (they locked up those in charge for a year so that they couldn’t be influenced), a prison, and finally a museum. As a museum the city has brought together some incredibly impressive pieces from Donatello, Michaelangelo, Cellini, Bernini, Della Robbia, Ghiberti, and many others. Both Peggy and John have their favorites (Donatello’s David and Bacchus, Michaelangelo’s Mary and child). John’s favorite is an elaborately designed canon that was fired once and then captured and never fired again. The
images on the barrel are unique and elegant. It may be that the museum has the largest (in number and size) collection of Della Robbias in the world. A few hours in the museum can be exhausting as there is so much beauty to be viewed in such a unique space. Upon leaving we stopped for a soft drink to rest our minds and then proceeded to the Duomo for a walk around the structure and on to San Lorenzo, home of the Medici family. The lines were long and we decided to forego the visit in favor of the many leather product vendors around the Mercato Centro. What a sight, every color, size, shape and trend in leather. The smell of fine leather and the crowds of adoring shoppers was fun in itself.
As lunchtime approached we made our way to one of Florence’s most enjoyable traditions: a meal at Cantinetta Antinori. The Antinori family has been offering their wines to the public via this little enoteca for many years. Peggy came here as a student and we have visited every time we come to Florence. Needless to say, the food and the drink were fabulous. Peggy had
a lively white from their Umbrian estate, Castella della Sala, and John had the very special red Tignanello from the Chianti region. Both went perfectly with risotto and shrimp and paparadelli with Tuscan meat ragu. A perfect, relaxing luncheon, followed by a little rest and then more wadering along the Oltrarno (south side of the river Arno).
We ended the day where we started: a long and relaxing light meal and non-alcoholic sitting at Rivoires. A good day.
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