For dinner we stopped in a small restaurant that makes their own wine. After about three courses, the waiter came by and asked us where we were from. We answered, "Abitiamo a Napoli, ma siamo Americani". We live in Naples, but we are American. He was so excited that he started talking very fast in Italian (Jon and I looked at each other and had no clue), gave us the dessert menus, and came back with two big glasses of dessert wine on the house. Not too shabby!
We awoke very early the next day and went to the Accademia Museum to beat the crowds in order to see the Statue of David. With no one to contend with, we almost had the place to ourselves. When we turned the corner and entered the room David was in, he took our breath away. Standing about 17 feet tall, his massive size cannot be missed and completely dominates the other sculptures in the room. Aside from his towering stature, we were in awe from the attention to detail this sculpture was given and how lifelike it is. His head is facing to his left so the appropriate muscles were sculpted into his neck, along with others throughout the rest of his body. Tendons, veins, and bones were all meticulously crafted to mirror a human. It took Michelangelo three years to sculpt David and we were impressed at the painstaking hours it must have taken him using marble.
|Our forbidden shot of the David.|
Next we climbed the tower next to the Duomo. 441 steps to the top! A cool breeze welcomed us at the top as well as nice views of the city.
|We made it!|
|Almost to the top!|
We then went to the Basilica of Santa Croce which houses the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini, Foscolo, and Gentile. When looking at the outside of the building there is a prominent Jewish star. We were a little perplexed by this, but as it turns out a Jewish architect named Niccholo Matas designed the church's facade. He and his architect cohorts wanted him to be buried with them, but because he was Jewish he is buried under the porch and not within the walls.
Although there are many tourists passing through the church, it is still a very sacred place with people praying and lighting candles. We were surprised that pictures were allowed to be taken of the tombs.
Afterwards, we walked to the Ponte Vecchio, which literally means "Old Bridge". After being destroyed a few times because of flooding, it was rebuilt in 1345 and was the only bridge in Florence to not be destroyed by the Germans in World War II. Centuries ago small shops would display their goods on tables to be sold. The tradition still stands with most of the shops selling jewelry or artwork. We crossed the bridge and then walked about a mile to Piazzale Michelangelo, which is a famous square and has magnificent panoramic views of Florence.
|View from the Piazzale Michelangelo.|
After lunch, we explored the leather market at San Lorenzo. Wow, do they try to make a sale! We bargained as much as we could, but they were tough! In the end though we were pretty successful buying two leather coats, two pairs of boots/shoes, two bags, three scarves, a wallet, and a whole bunch of souvenirs.
|Jon checking out some belts.|
|The leather market.|
Our time there was short, but we saw and did as much as we could. We are excited to return to Florence in the future - it is truly classic Italy!