Florence

Florence was a quick and easy train ride from Venice.  It’s a city known for it’s art, culture, and delicious Tuscan cuisine.  After dropping off our bags at the hotel we headed straight for the most recognizable building of the city, the Duomo.  Construction on the basilica began in the late 1200’s and was completed around 1418, but it had a big hole where the dome sits now because they weren’t quite sure how to construct such a massive dome.  The architect Brunelleschi was the one who ultimately designed and constructed the dome we see today.  At the time it was the largest ever constructed, it was later surpassed by Michelangelo’s dome on St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.  It remains the largest brick dome in the world.  The building is very impressive from the outside, but honestly the inside is pretty plain.  There are beautiful paintings on the inside of the dome but that’s about it.

Looking up at the dome from the inside.
Outside the basilica.

After touring the church we wandered through countless street markets selling every kind and color leather product you could imagine. We stumbled through piazzas until we finally made it down to the Arno River.

Thanks to our trusty Rick Steve’s guidebook, we had read about a piazza across the river you can walk up to for an amazing view of the city.

View of the Duomo in its full glory.
A lovely drink while we took in the view.

The piazza was a great stop for us.  It’s relaxing to go up and take in the view.  It wasn’t overly crowded but there were definitely tourists, and some vendors catering to them selling everything from beer to mini David statues.  We eventually hiked back down the hill and across the river to make our reservation for the Uffizi gallery.  The Uffizi is a huge art museum that houses mostly Italian renaissance paintings.  Probably the most recognizable work is Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.

Source

We again opted to go through the museum listening to a Rick Steves audio tour (are you tired of hearing me mention him yet?)  It was great because it can be very daunting to go through such big museums, and it was just enough information to keep us interested but nice not to listen to five minutes on each piece.

After our tour of the museum we walked to a place we’d seen earlier to watch Germany play the Netherlands in the Eurocup.  Now don’t judge us-it was an american bar.  We only went there because it was close by and we hadn’t really seen many other places advertising the game on.  But I’m not going to lie, I had a cheeseburger and it was amazing.  A nice little break from pasta 🙂  After the games it was off to bed for our early morning date with a man named David.

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