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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 7th 2018

John was up early and took a long walk to get some pictures of Florence empty. He discovered that there were others who were up, still partying at a number of all night bars near Santa Croce. And of course there were people awaiting the start of the schedule at the train station. John stopped for a coffee and sweet roll at the only café open other than McCafe (MacDonald’s café) across from the station. Upon awaking to her birthday Peggy discovered some fleur de lys earings from Volterrani e Raddi jewelers just down stairs across from our hotel. Peggy’s family has gone there for gifts for generations and John is keeping up the tradition. After breakfast we walked to San Lorenzo Chapel where the Medici are buried. It is an amazing building in that the ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 6th 2018

Up late and out with plans for the Palazzo Vecchio but disappointed as it was totally occupied with a special conference closed to the public. Went to Ors San Michele, the building/church built by the guilds as a meeting place. The church is on the first floor, with meeting rooms on the second and third. What is amazing is that each of the floors has 30+ foot ceilings. Quite beautiful and a real challenge to climb the stairs from floor to floor. Amazing pictures of the major Florentine sights from each of the windows of the upper floors. From Ors San Michele we made our way to the Museo Duomo del Opera, the museum of statuary and other art from the Duomo and Baptistery. We have not been into the museo in a number of years ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 4th 2018

Up early to be sure we made it to the Ufizzi and “skip the line” priority. To be sure that we were sufficiently energized we stopped at Rivoires for coccolata compana and got really jacked up. Thus fueled we got into the line for entry and swiftly moved up the stairs to the gallery. As expected, it was incredible, especially as they have spread some of the most important pieces out rather than having them crowded together in a few rooms. We went around the floor in about 90 minutes and then had a pick-me-up at the café overlooking the piazza (and all of Florence). This allowed us to revisit many of the pieces (Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Pintorechio, Durer, Tintoretto, Da Vinci, Fra Lippi, Montagna, and others). Upon leaving the museum we went to pick up ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 3rd 2018

We had a 10AM appointment at the Accademia to view the David and his friends so we decided to visit San Marco and the work of Bartolomeo and Fra Angelico before we went to see David. Perhaps not the best decision as the frescoes in San Marco are overwhelmingly beautiful and make a deep impression on your eyes, mind and heart. Over the hour or so that we were in the abbey we came to a new understanding of Fra Angelico’s view of human choice about perception of purgatory and heaven, something that may not be achieved in an afterlife but rather something experienced in this life. Lots to unpack and little time to do it in front of the art, so we left and went to the Accademia where we joined the mass of humanity ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 2nd 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 ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 1st 2018

Took the early morning “rapido” train to Florence arriving at 10:00 AM. The taxi line was almost 100 yards so we hoofed it to our hotel on the Arno at the Ponte Vecchio (quite a ways with our luggage over cobblestones). Got into our room and changed for a hot day in the city, then hoofed it over to Santa Croce for a visit and to chat with Barbara Gori, the woman who runs the Leather School, Scuola del Cuoio. This business was created by the Franciscans to teach the poor a skill back in the Renaissance. Now it is one of the foremost creative leather product producers in Florence. Had a nice visit with Barbara Gori who runs the place now that her sister has retired. She is very savvy about the business, about the ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence September 19th 2018

Hola! Venimos recién llegando de la ópera en un teatro muy moderno y muy grande. La música de esta ópera es siempre bonita, con muchos coros emocionantes y una historia muy dramática y potente. Pero en este caso hicieron una ópera moderna con una escenografía muy fría, y eso le quita mucha emoción al cuento y eso fue una pena. A la Panchi no le gustó. A mi si: El Trovador en sí me gusta mucho, conocí un teatro de ópera nuevo con una buena orquesta, y vi una versión extraña pero interesante de la misma. Aunque habría preferido una versión “a la antigua” en cuanto a su escenografía y coreografía. Desgraciadamente, están modernizando las óperas muy a menudo y para mi gusto, las echan a perder. De todos modos fue una velada linda y en ... read more
Duomo
Ponte Vecchio
Teatro di Maggio

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence September 6th 2018

The whole day in Florence! If I had 9 more days here, I Might be able to do it properly. Our guide, Patrizia, met us at the hotel and we toured with her on foot through Santa Maria square, past the Medici museum, the Medici Saint Lorenzo church, through the Medici palace to the Academia where we saw the David. Seeing that statue was the only part of the day in which my 21 year old self and Today's self were one. I felt the same awe and disbelief at its beauty that I did more than 50 years ago. The rest of the day I was reminded how much more that younger body was able to do! Don't wait to come!! Patrizia gave us a three and a half hour walking tour which ended near ... read more
Michelangelo’s David
the bridges of Florence—Ponte Vecchio first
Titian’s Venus Urbino

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence July 11th 2018

After a better night sleep for both of us, we were up and had breakfast in our apartment. We had bought some lovely fruit and yoghurt and also a baguette which we still had some cheese from Rome to eat with. I found the right coffee for the coffee device and heated up some milk to make myself a flat white (the Italians call this cappuccino). We then walked in towards the Duomo as we decided we wanted to at least go inside but at best walk up the Duomo so would see if that was possible. Firstly Janine wanted to sort oit her molbile phone at the Vodafone shop as she wanted to confirm just what she could use. After this we walked to the Duomo and spoke to someone that was selling tickets for ... read more
The Uffizi Gallery
Amazing artwork on the ceiling if the Uffizi
The bust of Julius Caesar

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence July 10th 2018

Janine and I both had a sleep interrupted night but can't explain why! Anyway, regardless we were up and getting sorted as we had our tour of the Tuscan Wine region today. Had a nice breakfast as figured we should ensure we don't join this tour on an empty stomach! We walked to the S M Novella train station to meet up with our group at 10am. There were 8 other people in the tour group so a good number. It was extremely hot today so we weren't happy when we found out the the air conditioning at the back of the mini van wasn't working! And guess who sat on the back seat? Yep, Janine and I - but we only found out it wasn't working after we got into that seat haha. We were ... read more
Barrels of wine
Our wine tasting location
Our wine selection




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