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Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

Sudbury...
Level Contributor
8,648 posts
1,135 reviews
Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

Finally, the last part of my trip report... Florence...

So sorry that the final part of my trip report is not live. We had a busy day in Firenze and then the early flight home.

Anyways, here is my story about our very short one day in Florence... Luckily, it was our third time, so having just one day did not break my heart completely.

On May 1st, we reluctantly left charming Villa Grazianella and drove to Florence, to our hotel “AC Firenze Marriott”. Nice, modern, sparkling clean hotel, but the area is “gloom and doom”. We decided on it because of my Marriott points, garage, outside of ZTL location... and did not care much about anything else: we were there to sleep only. After very quick check in, we started walking to the center. The walk was not too bad: it took us only 15 minutes to get to Ognissanti. The church was closed, but the lovely cloisters were opened and, to my surprise, the room with Ghirlandaio’s Last Supper was also opened. What a magnificent painting! I was not even aware of the fact that it’s home is Ognissanti... Great beginning of our busy day!

It started raining...my husband hates rain, but I could not care less. Florence is beautiful in the rain...

Our next stop was my favorite “not to miss” in Florence: Church of Santa Maria Novella. Unexpectedly, we spent more time than planned there because I was exploring every chapel. As I always do... Our plans for lunch were sacrificed... I was enjoying art and my husband was munching something on the way from one attraction to another. He was not happy... and I was incredibly happy. I did not need any food, I did not mind rain, I could not care less about the crowds... I was in Firenze... this was all that mattered.

Our next stop was carefully planned and I dreamed about it for long ... the Bargello Museum for the first time! We have never been! We bought tickets easily and even had to wake up the lady, whose job was to sell tickets. She was taking a nap.😊. To say that the Bargello is a treasure is an understatement... It is THE gem of all gems. The ground floor statues are amazing, but the Donatello’s and Vercocchio’s room is truly one of a kind. I was trying to decide what David is my favorite and finally settled on the Donatello’s marble version. And his Saint George is absolutely magnificent... Also, I enjoyed delightful Andrea della Robbia maiolicas so much... And absolutely amazing elaborate ebony and coral miniatures... gorgeous! I did not want to leave, but my husband was starving, so we went to a very early dinner in the nearby restaurant “Gusto Leo” - complete waste of time and money, a tourist trap which does not even deserve mentioning.

After pretty disappointing meal, we decided to walk in the rain, went to Piazza del Duomo, to magnificent Battistero, then to Piazza Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, my beloved Orsanmichele ... all of them were closed, but we had been there before, so I was OK with it. What I was not OK with, was my stupid decision to walk in the rain to Palazzo Pitti and then to Santa Croce...both were closed, both we had visited before... We should have gone to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, where we have never been. I am heartbroken... to miss such a treasure trove of art... I cannot forgive myself for that...

Oh well... the rain intensified... it was around 8 PM, so we stopped at the loveliest pasticceria near Palazzo Pitti, bought delightful sfogliatella pastries and started walking back to the hotel, where we enjoyed our pastries with Vino Nobile and cheese. And this was all.. Our fabulous trip came to an end... We quickly packed and went to bed.

In the morning, we had a bit of a surprise: Hertz office is not located at the airport and we did not know it! Luckily, our loyal friend Waze saved us: we found the rental office, dropped off the keys, reluctantly said good bye to our Alfa Romeo Giulia, and took a shuttle to the airport. Our flight was very good, right on time... luckily, Air France was not on strike, and we made it home safely.

What a trip we had! Everything was so perfect... I would like to thank all of you who helped us so much! Our gratitude goes to amazing Vagabonda, lastraniera, Scozzese, tepore, Venerosi, Kuroneko_89, Tongo79, ladybracknell, Pericoloso, Eddie, Ziggy, maudsters, Anna G., and my new travel buddy, Ariel... and everyone who was so incredibly helpful!

Happy travels everyone!

Nora

16 replies to this topic
Montepulciano, Italy
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
Level Contributor
9,007 posts
7 reviews
1. Re: Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

Nora, I am absolutely delighted you both had such an enjoyable trip, though with your well researched itinerary, it was always going to be so. Glad the weather didn’t put you off Florence, as I’ve written before, it’s a rainy day place for us. But then so many Tuscan towns seem to glow in the drizzle, just be careful though everyone as the paving stones can become very slippy.

SMN, one of my favourite churches too; the Spanish chapel, the sacristy - glorious place, could spend hours there. The Bargello seems to be the Florence gallery of the year from what I’m reading on this board but justifiably so as it’s long been overlooked. (Though let’s hope it doesn’t suffer as a result of its increasing popularity.) We went to Florence one winter’s day with the sole intention of comparing the two Davids and, like you, I settled for Donatello’s. I wrote in my diary “It’s bronze v marble, it’s big v small, it’s light v dark, white v whatever colour you decide Donatello’s David is, it’s physical power and resolve v an armed delicacy. The hair’s the same if longer and even more sensual but this guy is wearing a hat set at a jaunty angle. He’s younger, obviously, he’s armed too yet his physical weapon is nowhere near as menacing as Michelangelo’s statue’s glare. This one is light of foot yet strong. And that pose, what’s it saying? He’s pretty sure of himself, and he’s bit of a dandy too. There’s something sprightly about his stance, you can imagine his gait when he moves, there’s a delicate energy about him and youth, shocking youth.” Yep, that’s how I felt at the time. Agree with you too about the Della Robbias.

Gusto Leo looks like one of those trattorias that any of us could have popped into on a rainy day for lunch so good that you highlighted its shortcomings. (Perhaps write a review?) And don’t be too hard on yourself either about Museo del’Opera del Duomo, I’m wary of admitting this fearing the wrath of dear Venerosi whose suspicions will be confirmed, I am a Philistine, but although I’ve walked by dozens of times, I haven’t been inside since the renovation. Ognissanti (shush! Let’s not mention it too loudly, keep it to ourselves!) and one of my favourite Last Suppers. The peacock, the pheasants, the lemon tree, the embroidered table cloth in a style that you see so many good quality reproductions of today, I’m sure there’s far more the art historian would tell me to see but that’s what I remember most when I think of it. I don’t know the opening hours offhand but you were lucky to be able to see it for in the past I’ve dropped by at odds times only to find it closed.

You’ll be back soon, speriamo!

Cambridgeshire...
Level Contributor
5,249 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

A lovely, detailed report, Nora, I'm so glad that you enjoyed your holiday so much. Don't beat yourself up about being lured into a tourist trap restaurant, it can happen to anyone when they're hungry - and Gusta Leo is very near the Bargello, isn't it? .I've often walked past that pizzeria, but have never gone in, I don't think I will now.

It's been a while since I've been to the church of Ognissanti, but it's now on my list for later in the month.

It's a pity that you didn't go to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. However, that's one very good reason to return!

Somerset, United...
Level Contributor
118 posts
66 reviews
3. Re: Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

I loved reading about your frantic, jam-packed day - you fitted so much in!

California
Level Contributor
12,623 posts
56 reviews
4. Re: Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

welcome home Nora! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your travel reports....thanks! c

Sudbury...
Level Contributor
8,648 posts
1,135 reviews
5. Re: Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

Thank you all so much!!!

Lastraniera, your comparison of the Davids should be published - so beautifully written and so true... Still Michelangelo’s David remains my favorite, but I admired all of them, including the delicate, a bit feminine, Verocchio’s version.

And I still do not have a clue how we managed to see Ghirlandaio’s “Last Supper” on May 1st of all the days... the hours are pretty limited, so I guess we just lucked out. The door was opened, not a single soul was there, the attendant was busy chatting with her friends and did not say a word when we entered the room. We really enjoyed the beautiful painting and remarkably preserved frescoes. No ticket was required. Very nice surprise!

Yes, we will definitely be back. There were so many lovely places we missed... Siena, my love, I am so sorry! Yes, we have been twice, but just a couple of hours would have been so nice... I adore Siena Cathedral, the Battistero and the Piccolomini library... And Arezzo, and Volterra... planned, but missed...

I have a real problem with Italy: the more we go, the more I want to go back... and not just to see something new, but to revisit the places I adore. Oh, my poor husband! He has to deal with my obsession😊.

Our next trip in the fall will be to the Basque Country and Rioja Valley. Already planned - just need to buy tickets and finalize the dates.

Grazie Mille everyone! Without you, our trip would have not been the same.

Nora

Bedfordshire...
Destination Expert
for Berlin
Level Contributor
12,241 posts
114 reviews
6. Re: Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

😀

Montepulciano, Italy
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
Level Contributor
9,007 posts
7 reviews
7. Re: Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

"I have a real problem with Italy: the more we go, the more I want to go back... and not just to see something new, but to revisit the places I adore."

Not my definition of a problem, more just a fact of life for so many of us!

Tallahassee, Florida
Level Contributor
2,040 posts
8. Re: Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

Nora: I've been silently reading all your fascinating reports with eager anticipation for the next one. I'm hoping to return to Italy and visit some of the same places you've covered in this trip. Yes, I think many of us have the same "problem" with Italy. Visiting new places and returning to favorites is always a balancing act for me but a nice conundrum to have. It always feels like I've returned home when I visit Italy and my heart aches when my trip ends - but I always know that I will return again.

Coto de Caza...
Destination Expert
for Amalfi Coast
Level Contributor
3,056 posts
23 reviews
9. Re: Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

It's an addiction, Nora, one from which I am currently suffering withdrawal symptoms. If only my pesky job could be jettisoned. All in time. "The Deposition" at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo is one to look for next time.

Edited: 10 May 2018, 03:36
Sudbury...
Level Contributor
8,648 posts
1,135 reviews
10. Re: Our one day Firenze... and the Grand Finale of our trip

Thank you all again! I am a complete Italy junkie... this is why we return every other year... And yes... very hard to balance work and travel... I was checking my work emails every day of course... but I really do not mind doing it.

My husband and I share one passion for sure: we are Acadia National Park addicts... we go there every year twice a year to hike and relax... just 3-4 days each time, short trips, quick 5 hours drive... we come back home so refreshed.... It is amazing how the tranquil beauty of the ocean, the mountains and the lakes makes our life different... Vagabonda knows what I am talking about😊.

Yes, we will definitely return and I am not sure I will be able to wait for two more years. Luckily, my husband fell in love with Tuscany hiking and wants to come back to Villa Grazianella soon.

Grazie Mille, folks! You have been so helpful and inspiring!

Nora

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