Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Second Stop: Florence

Our second stop on our Italy vacation was Florence. We traveled via train from Rome and arrived in Florence in time to spend a beautiful afternoon wandering around the city on foot to see the sights we would see in more depth the following day. 
While walking around the city, we stumbled upon a glimpse into a sculpture/stone carver's studio. 
Scott in Florence. 
The Duomo is a very widely known site in Florence. The Basilica de Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral church (duomo) of Florence, which was begun in 1296 and structurally completed in 1436. As this image shows, the detail of the cathedral is extensive and beautiful.  

While wandering around the city, we found one of the famous leather markets where I practiced my negotiating skills, but ultimately did not spend any Euros!
One entrance to the market area. 
A market stall with many leather items for sale. The smell was beautiful!
Jonathan trying on the leather goods.
Scott asks "Does it look like me?" 
All of the browsing made us hungry, so it was time to try the Florence gelato
Four cheers to the Florence Gelato
Scott maps out our next stop while he, Sarah and Jonathan all enjoy their gelato.
Scott stops on the Pontevecchio bridge.
That evening we immersed ourselves in the local cuisine and attended a hands-on cooking class where we prepared a few Tuscan dishes. On the menu was: stuffed tomatoes, cannelloni, rosemary chicken with zucchini and mushrooms, and a molten chocolate cake. 
Sarah, Jonathan & Scott outside the cooking school ready for our evening ahead. 
Jonathan & Sarah stuffing the tomatoes with rice filling. 
Scott is cooking?!?!? I had to capture a photo of him in the kitchen.
Our version of the stuffed tomatoes ready to go into the oven. 
All four of us in our stylish plastic aprons at the cooking class. 
I stuffed a few of the noodles with their cannelloni filling before they were baked in a white sauce.
The trays of cannelloni with their white sauce before they were baked.
The rosemary chicken, mushroom and zucchini dish in the works...
The plated version of the stuffed tomatoes ready to be served!
We ate dinner in the cellar of this cooking school. It was very cool, as you would expect with a cellar, and a few of the areas were lined with many wine bottles. We enjoyed the fruits of our labor that night for dinner!

Our second day in Florence was filled with more sightseeing and museum hopping. 
The Dumuo is seen from all points around town. It is a neat view to look down a street and see it peek through the buildings on one end. 
We did go see Michelangelo's David but photos as the Accademia Gallery are not allowed. This version of David is located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria
The Basilica of San Croce in Florence. It is the burial place of some of the most famous Italians, including Michelangelo. 
Scott and Jonathan spent many minutes watching the people via street benches, as they are seen here in front of San Croce. Meanwhile, Sarah & I shopped the many leather stores surrounding this plaza. 
The piazza de san croce had many artists displaying their artwork for sale. So many pretty unique choices. 
Sarah & Cassie on a bridge by the Arno River. 
A view of the Ponte Vecchio bridge from a distance. 
One of many window filled with jewels for sale along the Ponte Vecchio. BEAUTIFUL!
After more wandering, we visited the Uffizi Gallery for an afternoon viewing. This gallery is located in the Piazza del Signoria which is close to the Arno River. The museum is a showcase for the Renaissance movement and houses works by famous artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. 

After a packed day of sightseeing, we started to walk back towards our hotel. As we wandered through a piazza, there was a crowd of people gathered watching a mime. Out of nowhere, this mime started walking towards us, and suddenly captured Scott and brought him into the middle of this crowd. The mime proceeded to start kissing Scott's cheeks, dancing with him, and causing a scene. I tried to fish my camera out of my pocket to capture this scene, but Sarah, Jonathan & I were crying so hard from laughter that I could not even produce my camera to record it....the only proof we have of it, is the after photo of Scott. Poor Scott, he was not as amused by this situation as we were...
Scott's face post -"attack of the mime" in Florence. A nice Italian man started to wave a handkerchief in front of Scott's face after he walked away from the crowd of people, in an attempt to tell him he was covered in white face paint! 
The Ponte Vecchio Bridge at night in Florence

No comments: