On Sunday we had a guide who took us to the Galleria dell-Accademia where Michelangelo's David is. For some reason I got very emotional when I saw it - I have no explanation, but my eyes welled up with tears. It's quite stunning, an amazing feat, really, carved from one piece of marble. Maybe I was blown away by its beauty? Or perhaps there's just something wrong with me. (See the photo video at the end of this post.)
There were other beautiful sculptures at the Accademia (I particularly loved the bust of Michelangelo done, if I remember correctly, by a student of his) and paintings, and our guide was great, very knowledgeable. He took us to the Duomo, the Piazza Signoria and Santa Croce.
After the tour Bill and I went back to the hotel (walking, walking, walking) so I could change shoes, then we walked back to town and had a pizza and wine at one of the restaurants at Piazza Signoria. Then to Pitti Palace (walking, walking, walking), which is spectacularly ornate with painted ceilings, ceilings with sculptures, paintings on every inch of every room...quite enormous and overwhelming. Room after room after room.
We walked over the Ponte Vecchio to the open air market where I spent hours agonizing over the leather belts and bags. Bill was very patient.
After all that walking we were completely exhausted so we went back to the hotel and took a nap. For dinner (jeez...do you think we did anything other than eat?) we went to a little pizzeria that Jean-Paul recommended, which was very nice. We had caprese salad and a delicious fish stew, and stopped for gelato on the way home. BTW, I ate gelato every single day, sometimes twice.
On Monday we walked into town on the south side of the Arno River (instead of the north side, which is what we'd been doing) and it was a gorgeous walk. Went to the Bargello which is a wonderful sculpture museum in a former police station turned prison. Fantastic stuff.
Wandered through town after that (walking, walking, walking). Stopped for wine at a piazza (this was a regular occurence for us), then later got a sandwich at one of the numerous delis where they sell gorgeous sandwiches for not much money. Then we walked some more.
After a little siesta we went to Ristorante Baldini, a nice restaurant near the hotel. We had the house wine. They put a bottle on your table and charge you for what you drink. We had a couple glasses each and the wine portion of the bill was 10 Euros (about $14), the cheapest we paid for wine since we'd been there. We had a first course of Spaghetti Pomodoro which was heavenly, and a second course of roasted meats.
Florence was wonderful and beautiful - we loved it.