Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Second Day in Florence

We take our time this morning as our plans are much more fluid today.  Our goals are the Galileo Museum and exploring areas we have not seen.  So after breakfast in the apartment we are off to explore.

Our place is located a block from the city market.  If you haven't been here make sure to stop in. Upstairs are restaurants that are very affordable and casual and open later than the market is (which closes at 1500). Downstairs are various vendors selling every imaginable food.

It is fun just to walk around and feel the vibe.  This is a great place to buy wine, fruit, cheese, and souvenirs.

We seek our favorite Coffee/Pastry place that we found last year.  Cantinetta Verrazzano (here is their TripAdvisor page) is just off the main street and is so beautiful and I am not even talking about the pastries.

Here you order your espresso and then pick up a pastry and enjoy at the wooden bench and people watch.

We get two cappuccinos and two pastries for around 4 E.  I would love to try them out for lunch or dinner if we had more time.

We head to the Galileo Museum (which is right next to the Uffizi Gallery).  The cost to enter is 9E for adults. 

The best thing I found about this museum is their interactive App that you download prior to arrival (though you could download on arrival with their free wifi).  Once you arrive just connect to their wifi and use the app to navigate around the museum.  Gee I wish the Uffizi had something like this.

As you enter each room just locate it on the app and then click on the particular display to read more about it, see videos on how it was used, listen to a full description of the item, and so much more.

Bernie is really into all this astronomy stuff and is keen on all the science related items too. But for me it really isn't my thing but thankfully because of the app I am able to learn and it helped me find the museum very interesting.

here are his fingers

You even get to see Galileo's fingers on display - weird I know.

So if science, astronomy, geography are of interest to you check out the Galileo Museum.

We walk along the Arno River to check out the Santa Croce Church and area.  We contemplated going in but the line is long so we pass.  We need to sit and have lunch as it is now 1330 and we have been going strong all morning. 

We find a lovely restaurant called Ristorante Sant Ambrogio right across from the Synagogue - here is their facebook page.

As we sit at the window we watch the locals come and go and rest our weary feet.

I order the menu of the day for 14E which included linguine with lemon and mint, chicken and sausage with vegetables as my second and dessert the traditional Cantucinni Biscuits with the dipping fortified wine.  

We are stuffed and we walk to the lovely square called Annunziata which is right behind the Academia.  We saw the Statue of David last year (read about it here).  Remember if you go reserve your tickets ahead of time.  See the line for people with no tickets.

We head back to the apartment.  It is 4 pm and Bernie decides to stay in while I go visit the Medici Chapel.

It takes me a bit to find the entrance but after two other museums that I believe are it I am directed to the correct place.

The cost is 8 E to enter and it is relatively quiet.  The site is not huge but quite impressive.  I guess if you are extremely rich you can afford to build your own chapel and crypt and adorn it with every monument and gold as the highlights.

This chapel is the burial site of the Midici family.

The real highlight here is the Sacristy.  It features master architecture and Michelangelo sculpted the final commissions for the family who supported him as a young man.

In all it took maybe a half hour to tour the entire chapel.

I decide to walk thru the outside market (located around the indoor market) to head back home.  Here you find all kinds of leather goods, scarves, sweaters, bags, t shirts and nick nacks.

I do need a new wallet and have been looking at them.  I take this time to find one from a vendor.  He is asking 35 E for it.  Too much and I just keep walking.  I find the same wallet a bit further down and ask the price, he says 30 E.  I just looked at it for a bit and he says 25 E.  I say will you take 20 and he responds, cash?  I say yes.  Deal!  I am happy.

As I walk thru the streets I see this restaurant sign.  Now this is the kind of places we try and avoid.  Not that it will be horrible but it caters to tourists. When we travel we want as close an authentic experience as possible.  So we avoid signs that say "tourist menu" or are entirely in English or have pictures of dishes.  

Tonight we agree that dinner should be back at the same place we went the first night.  Il Vezzo is so close and we loved it so why not.

As soon as we arrive (note we made reservations this time as it is a Friday night).

Tonight we decide to share each course again.  We have the same salad called Spelt Salad.  Then a pasta course of Ravioli in sage butter.  Then main course is cod with wine.

The server gave us each a glass of complimentary prosecco and the whole meal including wine came to 40 E.

We are off on our evening stroll as we reflect on the great time we had in Florence.  We are glad we got to spend three nights here.  We agree we would like to come back but again it would have to be in the off season and we think we would like to stay further away from the heart of the city.  Maybe on the other side of the Arno.  But this place we are staying at is perfect and close to everything and fit our needs this trip.

Tomorrow is a big day as we have to catch the train to the port and board the beautiful Royal Princess.

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