Part One I talked about some pre-travel things and our first night in Milan, In Part Two we visited La Spieza and Cinque Terre, Part Three was the first two days in Florence.
Jesse and I very much wanted to try Bisteca Florentine, which was a 1kg steak that was very lightly seared T-Bone steak, and the specialty of the city. So she found us a restaurant known for theirs, Trattoria Sergio Gozzi, which has been open since 1915, and we headed straight there soon after waking up, because we heard after noon it became harder to get a table. We arrived and were able to get a table, and ordered the Bisteca, fries (which are a side with just about every dish in Europe we have noticed, because who doesn’t like fries?), sauteed spinach, Tuscan white beans (cannellini), along with bread and a nice Chianti. When the steak arrived, we heard a nearby table say, “Did you see all that meat?” and after seeing they did not order any meat dish, assessed that they were vegetarians and felt a little bad they could not enjoy the ridiculously good steak.
From there we proceeded to walk around Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Brunelleschi’s dome found in most iconic pictures of Venice (and, way back when, I painted them very poorly for an intro to painting class in college) and walked around amongst the many people and vendors, taken in by their grand size and detail with which they were decorated.
After that, to try and get away, we headed toward a local park, where there were kids playing soccer, elderly locals talking on benches, teenagers smoking, so a normal, city park. It was nice and relaxing, and as we sat I looked on the map app for something to do that was nearby. On this hot, sunny, and humid afternoon I found a nearby botanical garden named the Giardino Della Gherardesca. It was connected to the Four Seasons hotel, so we drank a prosecco in the impressive lounge, then asked to tour the gardens, which they allowed (since we asked nicely). The gardens were very peaceful and there were many hidden seating areas and trails and the lushest of grass; we really wanted to lay in it but thought better of it. Highly recommended to stop and check it out in Florence, in our pre-trip research we never heard about it.
We decided to head back toward the other side of the Arno, but not before happening on a convent that had another impressive church, with the walls filled with many paintings of women saints doing good work, and impressive statues in the altar room.
Still on the way back, we happened into an empty church. (Quick tip: avoid any big church or one that you have to pay for while in Florence. You will find others that are overlooked all throughout the city, and they are all impressive). There were four figures on boards in front of the alter, and the church was somewhat dark, and very quiet. We learned on the plaque on the front of the church that it was a Ukrainian church.
After this we headed back to the other side of the Arno, and spent the rest of the evening walking the narrow streets of our temporary neighborhood and stopping in local cafes as the mood struck.
Our last day in Venice we only had one place to go: the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David. We shared a Pizza Margarita for lunch and then headed to the museum. This one was much more efficient and enforcing of the appointment tickets, compared to the Uffizi Gallery. We were a couple minutes after our appointment time and finally showing up a little late worked out, as they moved us to the front of the entrance line, in order to stay on time.
After going through security, we entered the gallery, with the Michelangelo statue at the end of the long hallway, beckoning us, but we took our time, inspecting and checking out the other statues and busts and the seemingly half finished Michelangelo sculptures of men and rock. As we approached the David statue, its huge height was even more impressive than we had imagined. It is perfectly sculpted, and we slowly walked around it, noting how lifelike all the features of the body were, in true awe.
There was other art in the museum as well, and many more impressive sculptures and paintings and even a collection of musical instruments from one of the Medici’s. We also saw more interpretations of the Annunciation.
We ended our visit walking through the local neighborhoods, peaking into the many artisan shops, with some at work, and marveled at the art they created. We also decided that, if we were ever rich enough to do so, we would travel to Florence, stay at the Four Seasons, and spend a week finding the furniture and artwork to decorate our dream house. On that note, we end our trip in Florence, taking in one last look, from the bridge crossing the Arno, as we leisurely walked to train station.
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