Florence 6.18.2007


Late start to breakfast at the sidewalk cafe downstairs
and another day of exploring the artistic wonders of Florence!
Our morning walk leads us to Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, and the Uffizi Gallery.

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Around every corner treasures of Italian art are found…

Mythological creatures in bronze.

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Perseus and Medusa and The Rape of the Sabines

Art history is strewn all about the city center.

Through a corridor lined with famous Florentines is the entrance to the Uffizi Museum
housing, among many important works, Michelangelo’s David.

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A look back at the direction we came:

Piazzale degli Uffizi, the Uffizi Museum alley Hall of Heroes

lined with famous contributors to Italy’s rich artistic history.

Notice the construction crane as proof that sometimes even history needs to be renovated.

Among the oldest bridges in Europe, Ponte Vecchio
(Old Bridge)

has the nickname of The Golden Bridge because of its many jewelry stores.

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The view on Ponte Vecchio


 Renovation in action at Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) (below).

Interesting idea for Trompe L’oeil

covering the scaffold with a vinyl exterior to match the building’s facia.

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A classic example of Italian automotive design parked in front of Pitti Palace.

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The guidebook leads us outside the well-preserved Roman Gate (Porta Romana)

in the city wall to follow a winding, natural walk through the countryside edge of the city.



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To gather our bearings, we have a rest stop for a cold beer and even colder gelato to go.

A most excellent delicacy!

Lemon, Mint Chocolate, and Pistachio,

so many choices, we each got something different to share!

Refreshed, we soldiered onward in our walking journey lined with massive Italian Spire trees.


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At a distance, we find unbeatable photo opportunities of the city.

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An interesting roadside set of stairs, mossy rocks, and a mysterious back entrance to . . . somewhere.

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Pericolo di Morte (Danger of Death) – We took it as a warning sign.

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Still walking the winding path, we then came to an intriguing monastery…

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Basilica Abbaziale San Miniato Al Monte

Monanci Benedettini Oliventani

Cimitero Monumentale

Delle Porte Sante

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We begin the steep climb to the pinnacle with
the Byzantine faced building above.
Well manicured grave sites line both sides of the ascent to the building.


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Just after we silently enter the dark and seemingly deserted monastery, a bell tolls.

Taken by surprise we freeze as an elderly man in robes, a monk,
appears at the top of the stairs behind the altar.

Perhaps under a vow of silence, he claps three times and begins to descend the stairs.

Unsure, we slowly turn to leave the way we came.

Through the door, we look behind to see the man with his right hand raised.

As we return the gesture with a wave…
the monk makes the sign of the cross accompanied by a subtle smile!

And so we were blessed…even if it was in a monastery cemetery…

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Contemplating a newly blessed stature.

We leave the monastery in an enlightened state of mind.



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As the sun lowers in the sky,

we continue along the road named for Galileo to the next point of interest…

The last goal for the day: Piazzale Michelangelo is perfectly framed in the dusk light.

The plaza features a copy of David overlooking the city’s infamous beauty.

The sun, obscured by overcast, glistens on the River Arno as a reward for our day’s achievements.

The experience is not unlike what Stendahl described

in his writings of extreme art and beauty in Florence and life.

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Starved and tired from the eventful hike,

we indulge in Firenze-themed cheeseburgers such as the Galileo and the Michelangelo

as well as a large and well-deserved Moretti beer

while watching the sunset and hoping we can find our way back to the hotel in the dark.


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Winding back to the room, a stencil suggests varieties of love…

The guys venture out into the night for takeout pizza and more beers

while I stay and book lodging in Rome for the next night…


Virtual Cocktail Bar

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