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 Venus, Primavera 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,