Monthly Archives: December 2011

Day 24- Museo del Bargello and Traveling to Rome today

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Rough night last night with indigestion and heart burn. Too many vinos last night. Decided not to do the Museo del Bargello as I was just too tired. David crept out at 8.15am for the opening of the museum that has a great Donatello and Michelangelo collection. I then woke up and realized I had to get myself moving and get e kids up as we we’re checking out at 11am and our train to Rome leaves at 12.15pm, so I decided to move quickly and get to the museum also. We were all ready and packed. I made my way to the museum at 9.15am. The security man said I looked beautiful this morning which was a good start even though he may have needed to check his glasses! Only 4 euro to enter and hardly anyone at the museum. The ground floor courtyard had some very large busts and statues. The next floor contained Florentine bronze artifacts and beautiful porcelain plates and terra cotta sculptures and another floor with coin collection and magnificent miniature bronze figures. There was a special room with Donatello bronze sculptures and people who studied with him, as well as his first statue of David in marble. The ground floor had some Michelangelo sculptures in marble and stone even though a few were missing.

I managed to get back to the apartment by 10.30am and was surprised on the way back by a man who was familiar to me….another David. We did the final clean up of rubbish and checking we have left nothing behind and we were already to go. A lady arrived to check the apartment and apparently help us with luggage…..she was tiny so no good asking her to carry any bags. Still cannot understand why we were not Travelling in a taxi and lugging the 4 large suitcases and 4 hand luggage that was growing bigger with each leg of our trip. We made it after a 20 minute walk and pull, dodging poos and sees and zig zagging through the crowds of people arriving in Florence with suitcases…..much smaller than ours. Maybe they learned the hard way.

There was a 10 minute delay with our train so we ducked into McDonalds for a kind of missed breakfast ….I don’t really care what I eat as I am starving….food! The train arrives and as usual you appear to be penalized for Travelling 1st class and have to run for your carriage at the wrong end of the platform. On board David does the suitcase reorganizing to make them all fit. We sit down with iPads being charged and used, iPhones and Nintendo DS games being played.

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Day 22- The Duomo and the Basilica of Santa Croce

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Late start today. We grab a bite and cafe on the way. Thomas manages to find hot dog sausages and chips on a plate ready to be microwaved. Hope his stomach recovers after! We line up on the steps of the Cathedral Di Santa Maria Del Fiore with a few other tourists and a number of gypsies jingling their money cups right under your nose. I have decided to keep. Coins in my pocket as they appear grateful and move on after. Once we are inside the Duomo we investigate the architectural features as well as tombs and paintings to be seen. Overall it is less decorative inside as other cathedrals we have visited on this trip so far. The Duomo in Milan so far has been the most breath taking in size and intricate decorations. The Duomo here in PIazza San Giovanni is made up of the Duomo, the Campanile or Giottos bell tower, and the baptistery where Dante was baptized and other parts. It is built of cream, green and pink florentine marble. Inside we admired Paolo Uccellos painting of SIr John and Dante explaining the divine comedy by MIchelino. Inside the dome we saw glimpses of the last judgment by Visari painted on the dome itself. We decide not to climb the dome but to try the campanile. Which we are glad we did. Kate was not keen which was not a surprise. We paid 6 euro each and started the winding climb up over 400 steps trying to pass people on the way was fun…..easier to stop to let people pass as you come down…..not a concept most people got as we tried to squash past them. Finally at the first level of the top of the Giotto’s bell tower where you could get some great city views through a mesh fencing….there I suppose to protect the people below from falling human missiles! The next level was a bit more of a climb and an even better view and the 3rd or 4th stop was the actual open aired top with a caged affect keeping us all in. The view of the Duomo was magnificent and this why we were glad we climbed the campanile rather than the Duomo. Finally I bribed Kate with a new car to come out on the small ledger area to. A 360 walk around the tower. After numerous photos and videos we made our way down which is always so much less of an effort.

At the bottom we witnessed

27th December 2011- Uffizi Gallery and the Statue of David

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Off to see the Uffizi Gallery today, the most famous art museum of the western world, and the Accademia Gallery. A bit of walking I imagine. Cooked breakfast and walked quickly to the gallery for 10.15am. Another brilliant blue sky not a cloud to be seen Winters day in Florence. The weather has been wonderful. We are very glad that we booked tickets for Ufizzi as the line for tickets was quite long. Once we were through the security check we had a few flights of stairs to climb before the viewing began. I have a new founded respect for Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance paints and sculptors. We ended up splitting into 2’s which was probably better. Kate and David and Thomas and myself. We used our phones for Internet checks on some of the paintings and making sure we focused on the more notable pieces such as Boticelli’s Birth of Venus, the Annunciation by Leonardo de VInci, Carravaggio’s Medusa and TItians Venus of Urbino. Thomas spotted Canaletto who painted scenes from Venus and Thomas remembered the ones we had seen atbthe National Gallery in London as he was very interested in what Venice looked like prior to our arrival there. After about 3 hours of walking and appreciating paintings that took years to complete, we walked up to then Accademia Gallery where the famous statue of David appears. We also prebooked the tickets which helped us skip the lines of people waiting. The sandwich we grabbed from a nearby supermarket was awful…the Italians should stick to pizza and paninis. The kids had the right idea with a tube of Pringles.

We saw a great display of violins, cellos and other instruments through the ages. Thomas enjoyed this and commented on the pigs gut used for the strings where now they use metal strings. We arrived in the room with David, the statue of Michelangelo not father and husband David, where his imposing statue sits right under a the dome of the Accademia building on a pedestal with Perspex surrounding the statue. It is good as it means everyone can have a good uninterrupted look. David is so tall…..more than I realized and you can really get a good view of him in 3D with seating all around the wall. Someone in our group broke the rules and managed to take a photo on his iPhone while discreetly looking as though he was using the Internet.

After losing the feeling of our legs and craving gelato we headed back to the apartment but we were slightly distracted by the beginning of the sales…..green dot is 30% off and red dot is 50% off after my curiosity got the better of me and I asked a rather excited Italian woman who was very keen to let me know….no translation was needed….we were using the universal language of it is on sale now! We were not lucky this afternoon but would return tomorrow. Some leather gloves would be nice to take home along with the 2 pairs of boots I have found already in Genoa. We return to the apartment for our Italian siesta and vino Rossi and berra. Contemplating finding the right place for dinner…..I have made my suggestions…..sometimes on deaf ears!

Day 20- Buon Natale….Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas everyone. We miss home today. Woke up to the rustling of David going for a walk. We started our day with a few presents to open for Kate and Thomas. Wish I hadn’t said no presents for David and I…..oh well maybe later. A cooked breakfast before getting ready to find the bistro we have booked for lunch. Osteria Pepo. I had booked the restaurant a while ago so we knew we had a special place to share our Christmas……and it was. The weather was blue sky and a slight wind. We had a lovely walk there passing people in the Christmas spirit coming and going from church services. A old lady was having trouble wheeling a younger woman in a wheelchair so I helped her up the Kerberos…..we shared “buon natale” to each other. The ristorante was wonderful. We hung our coats up and one by one the tables filled…….all tables booked just for one sitting for lunch. We wee good to book. The food was great…..garlic anchovies, herring, lasagne, mushroom fettuccini, beef wi peppercorn sauce (even though a sizzling plate of florentine beef came out to another table and Thomas thought he would have this next time if we return) and wonderful spinach and ricotta ravioli in sage butter. Dessert was chocolate cake, pane cotta with chocolate sauce and apple tartin. Hope we get back there. We then had a stroll through the streets of Florence with a lot of families who were out walking after lunch. We went down Via Corso to look at the shops….all closed of course except for the odd leather shop. We then checked out Piazza Santa Trinita and stopped on the Ponte Santa Trinita to take photos looking back at Ponte Vecchio. The light and sunshine in the late afternoon was fabulous for photos. We looped back to cross Ponte Vecchio and look at all the small shop fronts built across the bridge. There were so many people on the bridge eating gelato, listening to music and avoiding pick pockets. We walked past the Uffizi Gallery and saw a bit more of the city. We bumped into 2 Australian families on holiday …….great to hear accents from home. Back at the apartment we had a little siesta and wine. Due to Christmas we decided not to try and find any old place to have dinner so we stayed in and I made a vongole and pesto pasta for everyone…..not quite Italian standards but it filled our tummy!

Good night and Merry Christmas.

Day 18- Day in Genoa

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We enjoyed a great breakfast with so many choices from cereals, fruits, eggs, smoked salmon, cakes, donuts, chocolate croissants…..something for us all. No lunch for us. We finally made our way into the town. Today we would visit the Palazzo Ducale to see the Gauguin to Van Gogh Exhibition. As we arevwalking I notice my right boot heel is making a funny clopping noise. Yes the excessive walking and finely layed Italian roads have taken their toll and the bottom layer of my heel has fallen off. We backtrack only one street and David spots it. I will try to glue it back on tonight with nail glue but I have decided that i will find some boots today……easier said than done with my body builder calf muscles. Oh well I will stay positive. We check out a few Castlereagh like streets then we head back to the gallery. After trying to find where the tickets are sold we check in our bags. The pieces on display are wonderful. The Van Goghs are very worthwhile seeing even though there was only 1 large Gauguin painting to be seen. We continue our Genoa exploration and discovered different parts of the city. We found Via Dei Roma and great shopping strip with more everyday shopping. Finally a great department store with boots made for me. I finally decide to do chocolate brown after lots of indecision. Due to my boot heel malfunction earlier I am forced into being a big kid and wearing the new boots home. Kate and Thomas are quite hungry…lunches have been quite confusing as we have such late breakfasts. A short walk down the street and I realize I should have got the black boots as well. So I head back while the others make their way to McDonalds for a bit to eat. The woman in the store named Andrea has been very helpful and loved speaking English with me and asking about Australia. She organizes the the other boots as well. We head to the McDonalds where wraps, burgers and fries are chomped into and we can have a toilet break. We continue the journey looking at the city arch and other great churches scattered through the city trying to dodge the dog poos and what appears to be a see of dog wee! After lots of walking and wearing in new boots, we end up back at our hotel. Time for a pre dinner drink. My restauranat choice tonight.