The Wonders of Firenze!

Immediately upon returning from Venice my wonderful husband joined me in Rome for a week and a half visit.

Alek doing his Zoolander pose at the MACRO museum of contemporary art in Rome.
Alek doing his Zoolander pose at the MACRO museum of contemporary art in Rome.

A day after he arrived we took a three-day trip to Florence (or Firenze in Italian). We stayed in a lovely apartment just a block away from the Duomo.

View of the Duomo, Cathedral, and Campanile from our apartment’s window.

After arriving early in the afternoon we immediately set out to visit the Duomo, Baptistry, Cathedral, and Campanile.  Unfortunately the Cathedral wasn’t open for some reason, but we were able to catch a glimpse when we entered from the door to the Duomo.  We attempted the long climb to the top of the Duomo, but the small stone staircase was way too claustrophobic for me and we went right back down the stairs.  Alek did however make it all the way up to the top of the Campanile and the views he saw were well worth the effort.

Exterior of the Duomo
Alek waving from half way up the Campanile bell tower.
Campanile Conqueror!

Our second day in Florence was seriously intense.  We spent the morning at the Academia and the afternoon at the Uffizi Gallery.  In between we went over the Ponte Vecchio and stopped in at the Museo Specola – a strange collection of insect and animal specimens with a fantastic room of cast wax anatomical figures at the end.

Ponte Vecchio
Butterflies at the Museo Specola
Sea Turtle at Museo Specola
Human skeleton at Museo Specola – I call him Mr. Bones.
Wax anatomical figure
Drawings and wax castings of internal organs


Our day was capped of by a visit to this little church called Santa Felicita close to the Ponte Vecchio that is home to Jacopo Pontormo’s Deposition – one of my favorite paintings!

Jacopo Pontormo’s “Deposition” 1528, in-situ at Santa Felicita church in Florence.

After a very full day of sight-seeing we really needed some nourishment so we opened our Rick Steve’s guide book for Florence and decided to try out one of his recommendations. When we got to the restaurant there was a bit of a wait, but it was well worth it as the food was delicious, reasonably priced, and the wait staff friendly.  Florence has been literally overrun by tourists and American college students so it’s hard to find a decent restaurant that isn’t a tourist trap without a little help.  We both had delicious pastas (Alek had spaghetti in clam sauce and I had smoked mozzarella risotto) and then we shared a main dish of Florentine style tripe, which is supposed to be a local specialty.  The tripe dish was quite delicious, very reminiscent of beef stew.

On the morning of our final day in Florence we dropped our luggage off at the train station and then set out on foot to spend a few final hours in the city.  We walked by some of the churches we had not seen yet and then spent some time at Santa Croce where we visited the tombs of many famous Italians including Michelangelo and Dante. After a nice Tuscan style lunch (another Rick Steve’s spot) we returned to the train station and headed back to Rome.

Santa Croce cathedral
Tomb of Michelangelo at Santa Croce