Saturday, 25 June 2011

Tales from Tuscany..a day in Florence

As most of you know I really am a city girl - born and bred. I was born in London, educated in London, trained in London and lived the first 2 years of our marriage in London. After that we bought our house which, although it is in Surrey, it is actually an outer London Borough. Here I get the best of both worlds; relative peace and quiet, some lovely open spaces but I live only a 20 minute train ride to London. So when we had our recent holiday in Tuscany we knew that the draw of Florence would be too much to ignore and we could not wait for a visit.

Florence has to be in my favourite top 5 cities of the world. She really is a total jewel of a city. We last visited 2 years ago and decided to try to see some different sights this time. We drove to the Piazzale Michelangelo where you are able to park for free and got out to see Florence stretched out, glistening in the sunshine, below.


This is looking down at the Ponte Vecchio across the Arno.









And this is looking out to the East.






And here is a copy of David which stands in the middle of the car park! We have seen the real David in the Accademia in 2009 and it really is worth a visit. There is a photo of the "real" David which I took in 2009 below.

















We were able to walk down from the car park and crossed the river via the Ponte Vecchio which is always heaving with people at any time of the day. We decided to make our way to the Uffizi to see if we could skip the queues by buying tickets for later in the day. We were really lucky to be able to get timed tickets for 1.30pm in the afternoon so with them safely tucked away we made our way to a church we had not visited before, Santa Maria Novella, up near the railway station.



What a beautiful church this is, both on the outside and inside. Photography inside was not allowed but 2 of my favourite items were a Botticelli painting of the Nativity and a wonderful ceramic washing area for cleansing the priests' hands.













Afterwards it was nearly time for our visit to the Uffizi. I had a little "insider" information that there was a rooftop cafe inside, only accessible by ticket holders. So we saved ourselves for lunch as I thought this would make a very memorable setting to eat.
The location of the cafe did not disappoint us





We were able to enjoy this splendid view whilst we ate our lunch.















Once we were fully refreshed it was time to hit the galleries and marvel at the treasures they contained. Everything was just jaw dropping. Again photography was not permitted but my most remembered pieces just had to be Birth of VenusPrimavera and The annunciation. It was quite incredible to see these paintings, which are world famous, in the flesh, hanging just a few inches in front of you. They really do make your spine tingle. We spent most of the afternoon in the Uffezie which was the best time as outside it had become very hot indeed. The only photo I did snatch was one from the window inside looking down the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio.







After our  gallery visit we decided to just have a stroll around the city in the late afternoon sunshine and take in the sights.













By 5pm it was time to return to our car and drive back to the peace and quiet of Pancole. We arrived just in time to get showered and dressed for dinner where we enjoyed a meal out on the terrace of the hotel restaurant and a cool glass of wine...bliss!

I hope you enjoyed your trip with me to fabulous Florence, a real jewel in the crown of cities.
I shall be back again very soon with some more "Tales from Tuscany". But my next post will be a report back from this year's Wimbledon Tennis Tournament where we have seats in Court Number 1 on Wednesday, I am really looking forward to my day there. I hope the weather improves, as the first week of Wimbledon has been very showery..fingers crossed but it will be a great day, whatever the weather.

Bye for now,

Jane x

20 comments:

  1. Beautiful Jane, gorgeous photos!
    What a stunning city, my son visited Florence a few years back with friends along with Rome and Venice and he loved it too!
    It does look so lovely and I can feel the heat coming out from pictures! I've never been to Italy, I think I would like it though.
    Enjoy Wimbledon, fingers crossed for a dry week. I'm looking forward to seeing your photos from there. Come on Andy!!!!!
    Have a great weekend Jane,
    Vivienne x

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  2. Vivienne you would really love Italy,it's one of my favourite countries and the food is just divine! Put it on you "to do" list..LOL. Keep those fingers crossed for Wednesday. Have a lovely weekend too, we are supposed to be getting 30o tomorrow but no sign of it yet?
    Jane x

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  3. Oh Jane thank you so much for bringing back so many happy memories of Florence for me, I am so longing to get back there, this time I will try to book a visit to the Uffizi before I go after on my last visit I couldn't get in. I think I loved Sainte Croce the most.
    Huggles

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  4. I'm so glad I did that for you Jacqui, it is such a memorable city isn't it.We were able to book on the day, it really makes sense to book ahead and avoid the snaking queues.
    Have a great weekend,
    Jane x

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  5. Jane, you had me mesmerized, as I read and scrolled down all the beautiful pictures and descriptions. So lovely and definitely on my bucket list! Thank you. Enjoy Wimbledon can't wait to see your experience. I'll plan a sit down with wine and my computer and enjoy!
    xoRobin❤

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  6. Robin, Florence is on the "must see" list. Such a jem..I must admit the rest of Italy is pretty good as well. Glad you enjoyed your "visit" with me. I will report back from Wimbledon next week, Pimms and strawberries will definitely feature!
    Jane x

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  7. Wow. You are an excellent photographer and tour guide. I think I'm speechless. I took art history in college, but tagging along on your vacation gives me a much better idea of things than all those classes. Maybe some day I'll get to go over the big water and see some of these things myself. Wow.

    BTW, I left you a message about your dream on my blog. That's very cool in such a different way :)

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  8. As an artist Linda you would be struck dumb at seeing the most awesome art on show in the Uffezi...you really should go. There are just row upon row of masterpieces hanging there..fantastic!
    Have a great weekend,
    Jane x

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  9. Dear Jane, thanks so much for sharing your trip with us. I've never been there so it meant a lot to me to be able to go "with" you. Wish they'd let you take photos in the museums!
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  10. Dear Jane, I'm happy to see that you have had wonderful holidays! Thank you for these lovely photo-trips!
    xxx Teje

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  11. Hi Teresa, yes it is a shame but I suppose if everyone was taking photos inside no one would get a chance to see anything other than cameras! It also keeps the crowds moving on.I'm so glad you enjoyed your "visit" with me.
    Jane x

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  12. Hi Teje,long time no see? Glad you enjoyed the photos.
    Jane x

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  13. Oh Jane, these tales of yours are just amazing. Like Viv, I have never been in Italy, but it definitely seems just wonderful, just as I have imagined. It also seems that you found the best of best so to say, Birth of Venus and all... Must been just breathtaking!

    And next to Wimbledon! I'll be knitting (read: eyes glued to TV-screen) on Wed just to pick you from the crowd :) It'll be fun!

    Have a wonderful week, dear, and a big kiss to B!

    Yours,
    Mia

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  14. Those masterpieces were definitely the best of the best Mia... breathtaking art.
    We shall be on Court Number 1 on Wednesday, fingers crossed for the weather. Billy has had a wonderful sunny day with us in the garden today.
    Have a great week too my dear,
    Jane x

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  15. Your photographs of Florence are really beautiful, Jane. You've captured so many aspects of that wonderful city so well. Last time we visited it we stayed at the Pitti Palace Hotel right on the edge of the Ponte Vecchio so seeing your pictures brought back so many lovely memories for me! I was amazed too seeing the paintings in the Uffizi, especially as I'd studied them from books as a student - it was incredible to be standing in front of the real things!! I loved the rooftop restaurant too - especially the people watching! Thanks for sharing your lovely holiday. Have a great day at Wimbledon.
    Helen x

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  16. I'm glad to have brought back some happy memories Helen, seeing the "masters" in the flesh is jaw dropping isn't it and there are no barriers, just you, the painting and the wall!The roof top cafe IS a great people watching spot and not bad food either;0)
    Have a great week,
    Jane x

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  17. Hi Jane,
    thank you for your comments. I discovered yesterday that the contact email from my blog is not working so if you sent me an email from there I am afraid it is lost. Here is a contact email for me that works.
    andybojangles@hotmail.co.uk

    Andy

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  18. Hey Andy, great to see you here. I will contact you via your blog!
    Jane x

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  19. Oh I'm soooo jealous of your holiday and especially your trip to Florence. I went there when I was studying History of Art (many years ago now) and have very fond memories. Lovely photos, I'm catching up on my blog reading so will be checking out the rest of your holiday next. Bethx

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  20. Glad my photos brought back happy memories of Florence for you Beth,what a gem of a city it is. enjoy the rest of my Tales from Tuscany.
    Jane x

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment; I really enjoy reading every single one of them.
Jane x