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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Florence - Day 15

After my morning market ritual it was time to once again explore Florence. I'd trawled the bus site and worked out the route to take me to Piazzale Michelangelo - a place to get an overview of Florence.

It involved two buses, firstly either a 31 or 32 to take me to meet up with Bus 12 - the one that will take me up to the top.

All went to plan - I got off at the right spots and it was certainly interesting winding our way up the roads, catching glimpse of the view and admiring some rather pricey and exclusive real estate.

At the top you'll find another copy of David - this time in bronze as long as the usual variety of crap tourist merchandise.

I was only interested in the views

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The Great Synagogue of Florence, Tempo Maggiore

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The Chiesa of Santa Croce

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Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

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Palazzo Vecchio

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Ponte Vecchio

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Yes, there are tour groups but considerable less than I would have expected

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National Library

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The Gates of the Rose Garden of Florence - only open between May 10 and June 15

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As I was taking these shots the shrill 'strine accent of a Narelle came within earshot. She was directing one of her travelling companions on how to the compose the shot - he was to make sure she was positioned between "the dome thingy and the bridge"

God Lord, the dome thingy!

If that wasn't bad enough she kept shrieking about making sure she was between the freaking dome thingy and the bridge. Lovey, you'd need a much wider angle than that toybox camera can handle.

I'll never be able to look at Brunelleschi's beautiful dome without thinking of that ignorant women and her dome thingy.

Australians really do need to stop making fun of Americans, as bad as they are, Australians are equal in ignorance. This is why I avoid Australians overseas like the plague.

After enjoying the views and shooting way too many photos, it was time to head back down. I decided to take the slow route and walk.

Well, a quasi slow route - I didn't follow the road but crossed through using the garden paths, stopping at each road level to both admire and photograph.

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It was surprising peaceful on the paths, a most pleasant cooling breeze whistling through the trees.

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When I finally reached the bottom I thought I'd take the opportunity to check out a photo lab for 120 film (medium format). Unfortunately they only process it, they don't sell it. Seems like a missed opportunity.

Onwards I went stopping at a gorgeous little park, the Piazza Demidoff, overlooking the Arno - peaceful when the traffic wasn't racing past.

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The piazza is dedicated to the Russian noble, Nikolaj Demidoff who was an ambassador in Florence between 1820-1828. The marble sculpture was donated by the Demidoff family in 1870 and shows Nikolaj seated at the top, surrounded by children and allegorical virtuous figures. The cast iron covering was added in 1911 as the marble was suffering weather damage.

Sitting here I had a brief chat with Paalo as my phone is refusing to send pics, certainly looks like that part of the network is down. It was soon time to re-hit the road.

Crossing over the nearby Ponte Alle Grazie - the bridge shown here

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gave me a good opportunity to snap the Ponte Vecchio.

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You can see the horde massing in this shot.

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Back on the "right" side of the Arno and with a quick consult of the map I was soon heading towards the Basilica di Santa Croce.

As I looked up from the map I noticed I was standing in front of a MBE so I went in and asked about left luggage. Yes they do it for €15 a week per piece of luggage. Bargain!

Happy with that news I reached Piazza di Santa Croce in no time - passing this piece of Fauxstralia just around the corner

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The Basilica di Santa Croce is the main Franciscan church in Florence and the burial place of Michelangelo and Galileo to name just two of the famous names here. Designed by Cambio it was built between 1295-1385 with the marble façade and campanile dating from the 19th century.

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Much less tourists about here then at the Duomo, I'm glad to have finally found my way here. I skipped going inside, leaving that for another day.

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As I was at this stage feeling peckish I decided to reward myself and go out for lunch.

No I didn't go to the tourist riddled Mario's I went next door to Osteria Pepo and was much pleased that I did.

I have nothing against Marios, the gimmick works and the sheeple wait patiently outside for a chance of a table - oh the power of being written up in Conde Naste's 10 places to visit in Florence. You must love the sheeple for their predictability.

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I started with the Crostini - from top left, going clockwise, Crostini with Porcini Cream, Tomato and Basil, Liver and Salsa Verde.

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For main - Pappardelle al Cinghiale - pasta was perfectly cooked and the cinghiale just fell apart with a touch of the fork. Oh so satisfying and without fault

The late afternoon saw me return to the laundrette followed by another visit to Divino for a little more wine - this time indulging in a new red and a unfiltered white from the south.

The night was spent going through all the photos for today and planning out tomorrow.

For many more photos check out the Flickr sets:
Florence Views
Basilica di Santa Croce

4 comments:

  1. Such glorious photos! My partner's mother has just been in Florence and between her updates and your posts, I am developing a serious itch to travel! Can't wait to see what comes next.

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  2. Thanks Truffle - there's something sweet coming up after this weekend, should be interesting.

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  3. I loved your comment about the ill-behaved Australians overseas. It brought back memories of an 'ugly Australian' couple in Castelliana last fall. They got in a huge fight with the waiter over the bruschetta (of all things).

    It was served the normal way i.e. toasted bread, room temperature tomato mixture on top. They insisted that he had let it sit for it had gotten cold. He tried to explain that that was how it was cooked in Italy but they knew better. Finally he agreed to take it into the kitchen and broil it. As he left the wife turned to the husband and said 'I bet he will spit on it!'

    I don't know why some people travel at all.

    I'm with you on not following the tourist hordes when I pick my restaurants . . . now following the local hordes - that is a different matter entirely!

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  4. Hi Jerry, totally agree on going to the places where the locals go and it's also good to avoid places that have tourist menus.

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