Saturday, August 24, 2013

August 4: Florence

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel we headed out to explore more of Florence.  The weather forecast was for +38C which meant we would be looking for some shade during the heat of the day.  Since it was Sunday many of the cathedrals were closed until later in the day.  We decided to visit the Boboli Gardens at the Pitti Palace.  The line to buy tickets was quite short and we were soon on our way to explore the 11 acres of gardens  and sculptures. The gardens are  the most familiar formal 16th-century Italian gardens. The mid-16th-century style included wide gravel avenues, many statues and fountains, and many semi-private and public spaces.  The openness of the garden, with an expansive view of the city, was unconventional for its time. The gardens were very lavish, considering no access was allowed outside the immediate Medici family, and no entertainment or parties ever took place in the gardens. We climbed to the top of the Boboli Hill, wandered down tree lined lanes and stopped to admire many of the fountains and statues.   I found it interesting that none of the fountains were in working order, I am not sure if this is because of the heat and lack of water or if they are undergoing renovations and restoration.  I can only imagine how beautiful they would be!  Doug was very intent to find a statue that he recalled from his visit to the gardens in the mid 70's and just as we were leaving we found it! The Bacchus Fountain included a statue of the Roman god of wine seated astride a gigantic turtle.  The fountain was completed in 1560.  We also visited the wonderful Buontalenti Grotto.

 Duomo in the distance

Many steps to climb

Wide lanes lined with beautiful trees

The hills surrounding Florence

Beautiful urns

Neptune Fountain of the Fork

A view from the top of Boboli Hill

Overlooking Pitti Palace

The Amphitheatre

Doug and the Bacchus Fountain

The Grotto

Well groomed shrubs
Giant Head Sculpture by Igor Mitoraj

Our admission to the gardens also included entrance to the Costume Gallery.   There were displays of period clothing but the rooms were dark and small.  It was a long walk up many sets of stairs for a 10 minute viewing.

We stopped for a quick lunch and then visited some of the more well-known sites in Florence.
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Statue of David

Carousel in Piazza de Republica

Palazzo Vecchio

Entrance to Uffizi Gallery

In the evening we had dinner at a restaurant down the street from our hotel and enjoyed visiting with a couple from Edmonton. We walked down to the River Arno and then headed back to our hotel.

1 comment:

Pat said...

I think for that picture of Doug to really be authentic - he needed to strip down naked and sit on that turtle! Now he looks like he was just putting up his hand to stop you from taking the photo. I say, if you're going to do it, go all the way, baby! ;)