Today was a good day fill with beautiful weather, amazing sites, incredible food, and wonderful company.
It started with Erin and I deciding to wake up almost unnecessarily early to get to the Galleria dell'Accademia - the famous home to Michelangelo's statue David as close to opening as possible. They opened at 8:15 AM and we were there by 8:30. We waited in line less than 15 minutes and were soon inside. The first exhibit we went to was musical instruments. I never really though of instruments themselves (as opposed to the music they create) as pieces of art. But some of them can be truly incredible. (The photos don't do them justice.)
Up next was the crown jewel of the gallery: David. Before you arrive at the statue itself, you walk through a short corridor lined with unfinished sculptors by Michelangelo. They are truly striking in comparison to David.
Once you get up to David, you see just how impressive the detail is. I wish I could have gotten closer or had a better zoom to really show the realistic veins, irises, and muscles.
Once Erin was done sobbing over the perfection that is David, we made our way through the rest of the gallery, which essentially consisted of icons, icons, and more icons. Italy sure does love Jesus.
By 10:00 AM we were satisfied and made our way to the Duomo. The ticket situation for the different sites in this square was confusing and unclear. Long lines were forming at every entrance, even though many of them were for ticket holders only and no direction as to where to get tickets. We had attempted to get tickets online the evening before, but either the website wasn’t working, or the internet at our hostel was just that bad (both entirely possible), so ultimately decided to just show up and hope for the best.
That turned out to not be the best option ever. We were able to get into Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore without a problem – it was free and the line moved quickly – but nothing else without a ticket. We could have gotten a ticket to see the baptistery and the crypts, but the bell tower bookings were full and we didn’t feel like we would get our money’s worth just doing two sites since it's a combined ticket. So we enjoyed the cathedral, which was sufficient for me.
It still wasn’t lunch time yet, so we found a good lunch place and then explored the area to burn time. Our first find was Chiesa Della Badia Fiorentina.
Next we stumbled upon Chiesa di San Firenze.
I love hidden gems such as these two churches. There is always so much more to see in a city than what the guidebooks and online forums lead you to believe, you just have to go out and find them.
Next we made our way to a popular square where we found a replica of the Palmyra TriumphalArch. The original arch, built in Palmyra, Syria in the 3rd century, was destroyed in 2015. The replica was made as a way to send messages of hope during times of conflict and has been on display in London, New York, Dubai, and now Florence.
There was also the Fountain of Neptune. It was under restoration, but you could still see Neptune peeking out from the scaffolding, and I was just tall enough on my tippy-toes to reach my camera above the barrier to try and snap a photo of the rest of the fountain.
It was finally time for food, and we were starving so made our way back to the restaurant we spotted earlier. After a leisurely lunch, we made our way to the south side of the Arno river, an area which we had not yet ventured to.
We found Cappella Brancacci. It was €7 to get inside the chapel itself, and we didn’t think that was worth it. But the gardens and the Room of the Last Supper where a mural of the last supper is located were open to the public.
We soon discovered that the €7 would have also gotten us in the Basilica di Santo Spirito, though we still felt it wasn’t worth it because #studentsonabudget
After a long morning (and for me, a very long two weeks of intensive site-seeing, running, and walking), we decided some R&R was necessary so we made our way to Palazzo Pitti – a large square right outside Palzzo Pitti, a Renaissance palace. I loved getting to relax and enjoy Erin’s company under the warm sun.
After a while, we slowly made our way back to the hostel, allowing us a new perspective of the Ponte Vecchio and the mountains on the outskirts of Florence.
After freshening up, we headed out to dinner. The restaurant we found online ended up being closed, so we wandered for about 30 minutes looking at different restaurants until we finally found one that looked good and was reasonably priced. We both enjoyed our meals, but I had a serious foodgasm my dinner was so delicious. The wine, the pasta, the meat, and the dessert were all perfection.
Life is oh so good.