Franco Express (circa 2007 Florence, Italy)
Well, what can I say? Where did we leave off? Oh yes, great dinner, stunning suite in the 15th century palace, Arno River outside, spectacular views of Florence. Yet I forget to ask, how is your day going?
We slept in today. I woke at 9:30am. PJ, well after that. I went solo to the Sala for breakfast as he wanted to sleep longer. Even I'm getting tired of hearing it, but this is an awesome place to stay. Anyway, we walked into town after breakfast around 10:30am along the River. First stop, the Galleria degli Uffizi. The beautiful museum of art from all ages.
While I appreciate the technical beauty of all the paintings, statues, etc., I don't understand why the only things immortalized from these classic eras is the bad stuff. The rape of this place, the slaughter of that place, the fire over there. Didn't anyone ever want to paint a picture of a Sunday barbeque back then.......... Life had to be hard enough without the constant reminders of the tradgedies, but I digress.
After the museum, we walked through Piazza de la Signoria toward Il Duomo (the big church - again, size mattered in ancient times). We had a little lunch; hike up about 13 floors to the top of Il Duomo; hiked back down; had a heart attack (just kidding); caught our breath and off we went to see David. He used to hang out (quite literally as statues in this era were clothing optional) in the Piazza, but time takes it's toll on even those who Michaelangelo immortalize for slaying Goliath. He's found a new home in the Museo Accademia just another 10 minute walk from the Piazza.
He's really the big deal (no pun intended) in the Accademia along with a collection of a lot of other marble stuff, plaster casts of future marble stuff, and a cool collection of musical instruments including a stratvarious violin. Even a hick like me knows that this is very rare.
After this, it was off to this church and that church and the other church. Have I mentioned the role of the church in this culture? At about 3pm, we were ready for a break, so we returned to the palace to rest. After emails and a nap for me (two episodes of The Simpsons for PJ - he was so happy), we ventured back out to capture the streets by night. What can I say, the pictures tell it all.
Another church here, museum there, and it was time for dinner. We ended up at Piazza de la Repubblica. If memory serves, this is where I stayed with nephew Tim in 1999 on that imfamous class trip with the Jesuit boys from McQuaid High School in Rochester, NY. Despite the horrible memories (only kidding - we had a great time), PJ and I found a local albeit somewhat touristy restaurant overlooking the Piazza for dinner.
Of course, it was great. Antipasta for two; pasta for PJ and risotto for me; finishing with veal for PJ and steak for me. Turns out the waiter is from Quebec, Canada and followed a girl (oh, the power of love) to Florence where she dumped him, but he presses on. Anyway, he was a good guy, and we bonded as "vincini" (italian word of the day for neighbors). Too full to have dessert, we stopped at the counter to pick up 400 grams (how many pounds - who gives a hoot) of cookies to bring back to enjoy with a cup of coffee and Amaretto. Oh yes, in our suite.
One finally funny story..... As PJ needed to go back to the suite, I went to the bar to get our drinks. After ordering and collecting the glasses, I was greeted by the husband of the only couple in the joint. I didn't hear what he said, but asked him to repeat what he said. He was surprised to hear me speak in English as he thought I was Italian (he must have been really drunk). Turns out he is French; the wife is Italian; and they live in Denmark. They are sharing the palace with us for their 25th wedding anniversary (again, the power of love....).
Anyway, I was just happy as hell that he thought I was Italian. I can go tonight in my sleep and would be content (just kidding). So, PJ is watching a show on Discovery about ancient Italy (how ironic) as satellite TV makes things available anywhere in the world. Ironically, they just finished interviewing an archeology professor from the University of Southern Maine. We are everywhere.
Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing....... For those of you who can't get enough of me, I introduce you to "Franco Express" (see the photo). Half annoying, but available 24 hours a day. Good night all..........................