"All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it." - Samuel Johnson
Day 10 - 11 Florence, Italy
We took our last look at Venice from the water taxi as we rode back to the mainland to our bus. The ride through the rolling hills of the Italian countryside was very pretty. Our bus dropped us off in the historic section of Florence so during our stay we were easily able to walk to museums, churches, restaurants and the river. Florence is a big, busy city with lots of people, motorbikes, cars and bikes. We did a group walking tour of the city seeing several historic churches and piazzas. We headed to the Accadamia Gallery to see Michelangelo's masterpiece, David, at 14' tall, was very impressive. We also saw Botticelli's Madonna and Child and Madonna of the Sea, Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines and a collection of musical instruments. All that walking and looking made us hungry so we walked to a restaurant to have what would be our favorite group dinner. It was heavenly.
The next day we had some free time to tour Florence. We decided to check out the DaVinci exhibit that I saw advertised in a local paper. We got a map of the city and asked at the hotel desk for directions to the exhibit. Unfortunately, the clerk directed us to the wrong museum. We nevertheless enjoyed walking over the Ponte Vecchio and stopping at a cafe for an expresso. We asked our waiter where the DaVinci exhibit was and he directed us across town to the Plaza San Marco. Again, no DaVinci museum. Hungry after all that walking, we ended up having some nice pasta for lunch and were going to head back to our hotel when I just happened to glance over and see a sign for THE DAVINCI MUSEUM! Unfortunately, we didn't have much time to spend there because we were scheduled to meet the group at the Uffizi Museum in a little over an hour. We saw many of DaVinci's inventions and enjoyed the hands-on exhibits. Then we had to literally run across town to the Uffizi for our guided tour. Moral of the story: make the most of being lost. Just be sure to grab a map of the city with your hotel's location highlighted and a couple of the hotel's business cards.
ON GETTING INSPIRED!
Our group dinner in Florence was our favorite dinner of the trip. Ribollita soup, pasta with wild boar, flaming beef roast, a dessert buffet (triple chocolate cake for me, almond creme cake for Howard) and limoncello. While I can't find any wild boar meat in my home town and I'm not daring enough to do a flaming roast at home, I did make us the Ribollito soup. Veggies, cannelli beans, kale and bread combine to become a delicious, hearty, healthy soup. Ribollito means "reboiled." It dates back to the middle ages when peasants would combine day old minestrone and stale bread. There are loads of Ribollito recipes on line, but I thought Rachel Ray's seemed close to what we had enjoyed in Florence.
- Accadamia Gallery - Michelangelo's David
- Uffizi Museum
- DaVinci Museum