Sooooo many people ask, “What do you do in Florence for 3 months? You must have seen everything by now.”
Well, I decided just to outline one day so you can see what living in Florence offers.
Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous. We went from Winter to mid Spring in one leap. This is the best weather, so early in the Spring, of the past 4 years. It was 73, slight breeze, birds chirping, tourists stomping, bells tolling.
We decide to walk up to the Bardini Gardens to commune with nature. Our first surprise was outside of our door, in the Piazza. There was a line up of classic cars: Ferrari; Lamborghini; Fiat; etc. I had to stop for pictures, as did many other people. The event was a fund raiser for the ambulance service (that is our story and we are sticking to it). There was a donation box next to a tiny sign. Not the best in advertising. The cars were roped off and there were a few men pretending to be security. That didn’t stop several tourists from going under the ropes to have their picture taken, to the frustration of the “guards”. I would have been nervous if my Lamborghini was parked there.
Continuing toward the Arno we passed the Horne Museum for our second surprise. The museum is in a 15th century Palazzo purchased in the 19th century by an English collector who then donated the house and its contents to Italy. The doors were open so we snuck a peek at the entrance and part of their current exhibit of ceramics by Paolo Staccioli. We were introduced to Staccioli last year and I wish we had space (and cash) to have one of his pieces.
I think this piece would look especially lovely in our Loggia, assuming that we had a Loggia.
Across the river and through the woods (they do refer to the tree filled area of the garden as the “English Woods”) we went. We decided to go to the Annigoni Museum in the Bardini Gardens, in part because we wanted to see the exhibit and because it is so lovely to walk up the hill into the gardens.
The Bardini Gardens are now part of the Boboli Gardens (which are part of the Pitti Palace). One ticket gets you into both gardens. We have the Friends of the Uffizi card so we can go for free whenever. This week is Culture Week in Italy so everyone can go for free. We enter from Via de’ Bardi and walk up although the usual entrance is from Costa San Giorgio walking down. Whichever way is traversed is lovely.
We were the ONLY people in the museum at the top (other than the 2 guards who insured that I did not sneak a picture). The exhibit was called, loosely translated, 20th century artists seduced by 16th century artists. According to their interpretation of events, in 1922 the Uffizi found a Caravaggio painting in storage and decided to have a special show of 16th century art that was just hanging around. Contemporary Italian artists were then inspired by what we consider to be old masters but were apparently then just considered old. The exhibit showed the old works (some originals & some copies) next to the more modern works. There was also a video to assist the masses (us) in discovering the similarities. We got to sit on a leather sofa, alone, and contemplate 3 rooms of beauty.
There are also great views from the museum terrace.
The exhibit contained many still life paintings of food that, of course made us hungry, so we headed to lunch down the hill that Arnie runs up.
This is one steep sucker that I have trouble walking up or down. But, Arnie must burn lots of calories to continue to enjoy the food and wine.
Down, down we went. Back into the hordes of tourists. Luckily, we snagged one of 2 premier tables at a tiny restaurant on the river.
Il Ristro used to be a cafeteria style affair right on the Arno river, with a limited menu of food prepared in bulk and re-heated and cheap but good wine. They became wildly popular and now have table service. The wine is now 2.50 euro a glass instead of last year’s price of 1 euro. We got a half liter of wine for the cost of a glass of wine next door at the Lungarno. The Lungarno has the same view, but it does have more comfy couches and free wi-fi. We kept lunch simple with octopus salad and a stuffed zucchini. We had to save ourselves for dinner with friends.
We sauntered home so I could make my 3PM call to Dad and then I had a delightful Skype video call with my niece and her most precious baby Rosallie.
A little nap then up to our friends terrace for drinks before dinner.
Our friends Beverly and Gianni hosted drinks and Skai and Janis hosted dinner at Aqcua al 2, a very popular restaurant where we had good food and GREAT wine (2005 Ruffino Chianti Classico). Then everyone came back to our house for Vin Santo and cookies.
So, that’s what we do in Florence.
Here's the google map I made with most of our favorite places marked: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=105415847381885672872.000464c7a975f8228a430&ll=43.76588,11.249394&spn=0.002111,0.004667&z=18
Here's a link to the rest of the pictures of the day: http://www.flickr.com/photos/susanarnietravel/sets/72157626468686014/
Acqua al 2
Via della Vigna Vecchia 40 (on the corner of Via dell’Acqua)
Entrance from via de’Bardi or Costa San Giorgio 2
Closed the first and last Monday of the month (or whenever they are closed)
8:15-4:30 in winter; 5:30 in March;6:30 in Spring & Fall; 7:30 in summer
Via dei Benci
Museo Pietro Annigoni
Costa San Giorgio, 2
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10-5
Borgo San Jacopo 48r