Monday, October 12, 2009

Our Trip in a Nutshell- Part IV


As much as I love Florence and the history of the city, I think I prefer it in the evening and night when it isn't teaming with tourists. Even still, the city is great.

We started the day off at a tannery. The place had really great leather products, but the only thing we got form them were two trash bins with leather exterior. Nifty, lightweight, flat and easily packable and on the cheap side. Everything else was kind of out of our price range or we just didn't need it. We had a tour guide walking us around to show us the major sites and tell us a little bit of history. For example, I knew that the Duomo was still unfinished but I never knew just how temperamental Michelangelo was and that he even told the Medici to piss off when he said he didn't want to work on a pigeon coop (referring to the top of the Duomo). Funny. WE got a view of the Duomo from one of the side streets so the view was pretty much unobstructed by other tourists and we came in on the finished section. I still think it's funny that powerful as the Medici were, and despite the promises to the city that the Duomo would be completed, it still stands unfinished and no one, to this day, wants to take the job on.

We walked by the other historical buildings and piazzas, pet the Florentine Boar adn bropped a coin from it's mouth and snout into the well below it (I dunno, it's supposed to bring you money and fertility) before splitting off. Some went to the Galleria dell'Accademia and to the other side of the river to check out some of the sights there. We, however, went to the Ufizzi Gallery. I liked the Ufizzi Gallery. The only bad thing about it is that our tour guide was very thorough. I mean VERY thorough. It took her about an hour and a half to get through four rooms. I did appreciate the lessons in history and art. For example, did you know that the woman in the Birth of Venus painting is the likeness of Giuliano Medici's girlfriend, before he got killed? And that a few years later, Botticelli used the same woman in the Primavera painting along with Giuliano (he's the man on the far left). And that Botticelli won out over DaVinci for commissions from the Medici by putting family members and friends such as the former girlfriend and even using Lorenzo Medici in prominent positions in his paintings. This is the kind of stuff she would fill us in on. Facinating, but it took a very long time. Then we realized that we ended up paying something like 35 Euro each and the entrance to the Ufizzi was 10 Euro. It wouldn't have been so bad, but we only got to see four of the rooms. By the time she finished with the tour, we could have explored the place on our own, but we were too damn tired.

After the Ufizzi, Aaron and I hit a little restaurant directly across the street from the Ufizzi's back entrance. We had more yummy pizza. He was feeling miserable. This was his horrible day in the cold cycle. I had him get a big cup of tea and pene ala arabiata (I really had to keep myself from giggling or going into the bit), "This is wet, this is wet, and this is wet, what? Did you dry these in a rain forest?" He started feeling a touch better so we went on a stroll over the ponte veccio to see if that would help loosen things up and allow him to breathe a bit. I'm really glad we got to see the thing at night. I would have hated it and wouldn't have gotten a real appreciation of it otherwise. I felt like a sardine trying to walk across it. We wandered back to the Piazza della Signoria, stopping now and then to check out very serious looking artists in the streets and stopping for more gelatto. By the time we got to the Piazza, Aaron just wanted to sit. So we sat inside the Loggia dei Lanzi Right behind the sculpture of Perseus killing Medusa. We sat there for a good long while, I wrote in my journal. He just rested a bit and watched people. It was another one of those moments where doing nothing was the best thing we could have done to enjoy the city. We sat there for about an hour or so. Aaron felt better again, so we went to join our group. We met back at the piazza in front of Basilica di Santa Croce (Aaron loves this Basilica. The architect put his own stamp on it by putting a giant star of David at the very top. The architect was Jewish).

While waiting for the whole group to gather we noticed a bunch of military police standing around. Not really on high alert (not until pretty girls walked by) they were kind of just standing around in a very Italian way, occasionally smoking. It turns out they were there because Florence was playing one of the other Italian teams on soccer that night. In case they won or lost, they heavily duty police were there to quell the riots. Funny.

Dinner that night was kind of terrible. We had a group dinner at the hotel. our choices were chicken, pork or fish. They didn't give us a choice in dish mind you, just chicken, pork or fish. The dinner was as exciting as it sounds. Blech.

Later that night a group of us got together to have coffee and snacks. Aaron ended up electrocuting himself. When we got to the hotel, we noticed that the electrical outlets were different from the ones we were used to using. The converters we had, had a different prong setup. We were told these would work the same way. I had my doubts. I plugged a few things into the outlets in the hallway. Aaron tried to use the one in the room. He ended up jamming the outlet into the wall. Luckily he bought a utility knife in San Gimignano. He told me to go downstairs and wait for him there. While I waited I told our group what happened. Steve said that I may want to call to tell him to forget tyring to fix the things since their electrical currents are twice as strong as ours. I called the room to relay the message. He said he was heading down and that it was too late. He already zapped himself about three times. The good news was that his congestion broke up in the process.

Tomorrow: Pisa, Venice and the hookers (I kid you not)


Cathy said...

oh no, poor Aaron :( At least getting zapped repeatedly helped him be able to breathe.

Dizzy Vizzy said...

How did you NOT do the penne ala arabiata bit?? It's like breathing!
Poor Aaron - I can't even imagine the power of those shocks since they cleared his sinuses!!
Did you end up seeing any soccer hooligans?