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Published: June 13th 2017
Geo: 43.7687, 11.2569DAY TWELVE (8/13) — Florence, Tuscany
The rest of us buy paintings; the Medici bought painters.
There's so much to see and do in Florence and Patrick insists I'm trying to do it all in two days. Yea, so?
We met our guide Fabiana at 8:30 and walked along the River Arno to the Uffizi Gallery, the oldest art gallery on earth. The building itself was once the offices for the Medici family. The House of Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house — though officially they remained simply citizens rather than monarchs. The Medici produced three Popes and ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany from its inception until 1737. They fostered and inspired the birth of the Italian Renaissance.
The Medici were unbelievably wealthy. The art collection housed at the Uffizi is massive and impressive. Among the collection is Botticelli's "Birth of Venus", one of the three most valuable paintings in the world. Others whose works are among the gallery's collection are Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Rembrandt. One of the Medicis actually discovered Michelangelo and it seemed as if many of the famous painters were on their payroll.
When our tour was over, we crossed the Ponte
Vecchio with the Halvorsens and the Ramirezes and lunched at Ristorante Mamma Gina, one of Len's recommendations. Very tasty. The cannelloni was exceptional.
We then walked to the Pitti Palace, once the residence of the Medici. More mind boggling art and an incredible collection of royal apartments awaited us. The palace is not unlike Versailles and Catherine the Great's Winter Palace … opulent and over the top. The ceilings, the furniture, the art, the gardens (Boboli) are all stunning. Works by Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Botticelli and others are displayed much as they would have been in the grand rooms when the Medicis lived there.
We left the Pitti Palace, grabbed a cab and went to the Piazzale Michelangelo which is one of the highest points in the city and offers bird's eye views of all the important monuments. We took pictures of the city and pictures of ourselves … classic tourist stuff!
We returned to the hotel to rest and reconvened for dinner at Il Profeta, right near our hotel. It was absolutely yummy … the best meal we've had in Italy. It's definitely a place we would all recommend to others. Even the Tiramisu was made with zabaglione, which made it lighter
and tastier than all others.
Note about the Westin Excelsior Florence:
- 170+ rooms, many of which overlook the River Arno
· Large room with king bed, couch, desk, lounging chair, dresser
· Handy to major sights without being in the heart of the hustle and bustle
· Big, elegant rooms with a small hotel feel
· Very good air conditioning.
· Refrigerator/mini bar in room.
· Safe in room.
· Good food
· I would say this was the best of the properties we stayed during our two weeks.
· Good news: Doug's luggage was finally delivered by Air France to the hotel.
· Bad news: They delivered it to the hotel in Torgiano where we were a week ago. So Len recommended it be sent back to North Carolina, as this is the weekend, Monday is a holiday in Italy and Wednesday they head home.
Tot: 2.061s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 10; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0126s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb