Monday, July 6, 2015

Off to Firenze

Although we wanted to spend most of our time in Rome and we did not want to be moving around from day to day, we decided to take a couple of day trips while still coming back to our "home base" for the night.  We got  up early and took the train to Firenze, or Florence to you North Americans.  :)  Since we weren't quite sure where we were going or how long it would take to get to the Termini train station, we caught a cab instead of taking the metro.  We arrived WAY early so had to hang out at the train station for almost an hour.  It was busy and crowded and fun to people-watch.  We'd been warned about pickpockets in the train station but didn't have any trouble. When we first walked in, a young woman approached us and asked if we needed help finding our train. We said not really but she asked us where we were going and then we were kinda committed to letting her help us, or so it seemed, if we didn't want to be rude. She basically just walked us over to the timetable sign and pointed out the platform that our train would leave from.  Then it was obvious that she wanted to be paid for helping us so Rich gave her some Euros.  Lesson learned!

I had bought our tickets in advance online so we had assigned seats all together and had a pleasant ride to Firenze.  Mom and I were goofing around, taking selfies with my phone.  :)

 I had decided to wear a skirt, thinking it would be comfortable for traveling and walking around. Although I threw on a scarf and a sweater, I didn't wear any tights underneath and just wore sandals.  My legs and feet were cold all day long in the cool, drizzly weather. Another lesson learned!  What was I thinking??

 Rich and his sister Vesta

 Beautiful Florence

There is no way to see everything in one day so we prioritized the Duomo and the Accademia.  First stop, the Duomo.  The cathedral is named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore and is a huge Gothic structure with a Renaissance dome.
The cathedral was begun at the end of the 13th century by Arnolfo di Cambio, and the dome was added in the 15th century, designed by  Filippo Brunelleschi.

 We stopped in the square by the Duomo for pizza and lattes

Then we walked around for a little while and found a big open air market where Mom and I haggled for little purses.   We think we got a deal, but who knows?!

Then to the Accademia where we saw the famous statue of David, along with many more pieces of art and sculpture.
David was commissioned in 1501 by the Cathedral Works Committee (Opera Del Duomo). At the age of 26, Michelangelo was given a leftover block of marble that came from the mountains of Carrara, one which had previously been worked on by various other artists. The piece was intended as a monumental work, a testimony to the city's republican pride, not one for close confinement, but was moved to the Accademia in 1873 (from outside the Palazzo Vecchio, where a replica now stands ) to protect it from the ravages of time and the weather. (From

The Accademia del Disegno was the first academy of drawing in Europe, and was founded in the middle of the sixteenth century by Vasari, Bronzino and Ammannati. Relocated from Santissima Annunziata to Via Ricasoli, it became a wider and more general academy of arts and was christened the Accademia di Belle Arti.  (From

My poor Mom was exhausted from walking all over the place but ever the good sport, did not complain a bit. We stopped for some dinner to get out of the rain, had some gelato, and then headed back to the train.
Trains are sleek, modern, comfortable, and fast!  They're a great way to travel! 
After our full day, we caught a cab back to our apartment and crashed! 

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