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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Florence - Day 17

It's Saturday so of course I head off to the market in the morning, having my now regular coffee at Bar Piero.

Not wanting to do too much after yesterday I decide to just do a little exploring through some of the smaller streets and see what I can find. I have a couple of shops I'd like to visit so I've noted them on my map so hopefully I'll find them.

I'm travelling light so I've only taken the compact Nikon with me - if something really interests me I can just return another day.

My first stop is the Piazza della Republicca - the first time I've come here this trip.

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This large square in existence since Roman times, marks the centre of Florence, though it has significantly changed in that time span.

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The Arco del Trionfo/Arch of Triumph is the major feature of the Piazza and was completed in 1895.

Not more than a block away is the Orsanmichele - it started life as a grain market in 1337 and by the late 14th century became a church, San Michele in Orto for the guild halls of Florence.

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On the façade as statues of the patron saints of the various guilds, made by some of the best artists of the time. The richer guilds had their statues made in bronze.

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On the left: St George by Donatello commissioned by the Armourers Guild
On the Right: Four Saints by Banco commissioned by the Wood and Stone Workers

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St Phillip by Nanni di Banco commissioned by the Shoemakers Guild.

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St Peter by Bernardo Ciuffagni though attributed to Brunelleschi, commissioned by the Butchers guild.

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Christ and St Thomas by Verrocchio commisioned by the Merchants Guild.

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Madonna della Rosa by Piero Tedesco commissioned by the Doctors and Apothecaries Guild.

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I should add that all these statues are copies and the originals are housed inside the Orsanmichele.

Just down from the Orsanmichele is the Loggia del Mercato Nuova or as it's otherwise known Loggia del Porcellino

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and for some odd reason the tourists are taking photos of themselves with the Fountain of the Porcellino here. I will never understand that behaviour and the fascination of having your picture taken in front of things - like you need you proof you were there or people won't believe you. The Loggia is nowadays home to leather good stalls and various tourist merchandise.

It was here that I finally found one the things I've been looking for

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no it's not the Hasselblad 16 megapixel back but finally I have 120 film, in black and white and colour. Now I can put my folders to good use.

My search for another store lead me to the Palazzo Strozzi built between 1489 and 1538. The building stands on a whole block accessible by the four streets that surround it. A large multilevel courtyard is open to the public.


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It's currently used to house special exhibitions.

I suppose tea isn't something you'd usually want to have in Italy but if you have those tea urgings than this shop is a tea lovers paradise

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Located on the Piazza of San Pancrazio, I kind of just stumbled upon it. Inside they have more than 280 loose leaf teas for sale as well as all the tea making peripherals you can think of. Oh, they also have a good range of coffee beans too.

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You have to love those street names.

As it was close to 1.30 by now I've ducted into a little cafe for a late lunch - it's always a good sign when there's no "tourist menu" and the other diners are all Italian. If you stick by those rules you should have a good meal and this wasn't an exception

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My usual "quarto" of Red Wine and mineral water

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To start: Antipasto della casa - there was the best artichoke I've ever had on this platter along with a cCinghiale sausage, salami and prosciutto

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For the main: Padelletta di Salsicce e Fagioli sounds and tastes so much better than Beans and Sausages.

Satisfied I winded my way through the back streets for a well earned rest. It was certainly a fruitful day for me.

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