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May 27th 2012
Published: July 22nd 2017
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Geo: 43.3187, 11.3305

Sunday - must be Florence. The fellow at the hotel desk recommended taking the bus and the train to Florence. One catch. The store where you buy the bus tickets was closed as are many things in smaller towns on Sundays. We decided just to drive and thankfully the GPS took us directly to the parking lot beside one of the main gates. The lot was full but there was a space across the street so we took a chance and the car was still there when we got back!

Florence is flat - no steep stairs and walkways so our legs got a bit of a rest today.

We entered by the Porto Romana (one of the gates). On entering you see the vehicle restriction sign with a camera. Going beyond this point without a permit costs 100 Euros. The fine applies every time you go through the gates in the city.

The initial part of the walk was through a neighborhood where ordinary people live. Once past that we were at the Pritti Palace. There is an elevated walkway extending from the palace, across the bridge to the main part of the city. This was used by nobles so they didn't have to walk among the commoners.

The main bridge (Ponte Vecchio) is the only remaining original bridge. The others were destroyed during the WW2. This bridge is lined with jewelry merchants. Once across the bridge one is into the main city. The Uffizi Gallery is a street lined with many statues of notables. Once through the Gallery you are into the main square - Palazzo Vecchio. This was the economic center of the town. Florence was a democratic city with loose ties to the Catholic Church and played a major role in the Renaissance. The main building was basically a city hall with tower. Alongside is the Loggia which in its time was used as a public gallery where citizens could speak about issues. Eventually the powerful Medici family decided to use it as a gallery for sculptures. There is a statue of David (with arm) but it is a copy. The original is preserved in another location. Many of the sculptures one sees in Italy are copies and the originals have been moved to museums.

The Via Calzaiuoli is main shopping and commercial street. We happened to walk into a design exhibit along the way.

Next stop was the Cathedral (Duomo) and Baptistry. The Baptistry is the oldest church in Florence. The Duomo is very grand but the facade was not completed until the 1800's for an Italian celebration.

We walked as far as the Accademia but he lines were very long so we decided to stop there and head back.

Back to the Hotel in Siena by about 4 pm so decided to enjoy the pool and the sun. Dinner hours are later in Italy and most restaurants do not open until 7 pm or later.

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27th May 2012

Oh, what a beautiful place.

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