A Travellerspoint blog

Oh How I Love Florence

My adventures in Florence, Italy

View The Grand Tour on JoyC's travel map.

I originally wrote this on March 19, 2008.

Two days ago we took on the Uffizi Museum. It almost killed us. It’s really only one floor, with a couple rooms of paintings on another floor, but there was sooooo much walking and so much art to stop and look at, that our feet were more sore that night than they have been since we started this trip.

Rick Steves calls the Uffizi Museum the "greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere." The art was phenomenal. There were three corridors of sculptures that we walked through first. Don’t ask me to name even one of them, because I can’t remember the artists or the names of the sculptures. Saying, "They were really cool," doesn’t really sum it up, but that’s pretty much all I can manage right now.

The rooms of paintings went in this order: Early Italian, Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, Venus de Medici, Northern Renaissance, High Renaissance, and Baroque. My favorite painting was Botticelli’s "Birth of Venus." There was also an El Greco that I really liked, but I can’t remember the name. Two saints were involved…

I’m cheating by looking at the Rick Steves Florence guide book, but here are some of the other paintings we saw: Gothic altarpieces, Paolo Uccello’s "Battle of San Romano," Fra Filippo Lippi’s Madonnas, Botticelli’s "La Calunnia," a copy of Praxiteles’ "Venus de Medici," Michelangelo’s only surviving easel painting "Holy Family," Raphael’s "Madonna of the Goldfinch," and Titian’s "Venus of Urbino."

Plus, a much needed break at the museum café offered a fantastic view of Il Duomo!

The Uffizi courtyard is surrounded by statues of famous Florentines: Michelangelo, Niccolo Machiavelli, Galileo, Dante, Amerigo Vespucci, and Lorenzo "the Magnificent" de’ Medici.

After an immensely enjoyable day at the museum, we limped along the 1-1/2 mile walk home.

Yesterday I took a day to rest in the apartment. Mom, Dad, and John walked to the yarn store (more than 3 miles round trip) to get Mom some new knitting needles. I believe they also made a trip to the grocery store, but I think I was napping at the time. Tomorrow, I am going to figure out the bus schedule. And memorize it.

Check out my photos on my gallery here at www.Travellerspoint.com or at my online store at www.ItalyShoppe.com

Posted by JoyC 09:58 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Oh, How I Love Venice

Our family adventure in Venice

I had the exquisite pleasure of traveling through parts of Italy with my parents and brother, John, for 4 weeks this past spring and thought I'd share a bit from my journal:

Rome is grand and majestic, Florence is renaissance beauty and charm, but Venice…

Venice is mystical glass and air – it’s a fragrance that touches your soul and connects you to centuries past.

So, yeah, our trip to Venice was good. We stayed at a small inn on Murano, an island just off the island of Venice. Murano is famous for its glass, which is incredible. Our first morning there, we started off with what has become our usual comedy of errors. First morning adventures, in chronological order:

1. John and Dad go out at 5 am to take pictures. John and I are sharing a room, and he doesn’t want to wake me up, so he puts his battery in his camera in the dark. Off they go, excited about taking pictures. John’s first shot of the day is going to be a beauty. He sets up his tripod so he can take long exposure pics that soak up what little light there is in the pre-dawn hours. Camera is placed on the tripod. Battery falls out of camera, bounces once on the sidewalk, then kerplunk… straight into the canal.

2. Defeated in his battle royal with the canal, John returns to the hotel. Getting his stuff ready for the day’s adventure, he realizes that he can’t find his vaparetto pass. The vaparetto are the water buses that are a very easy way to get around Venice. They are also our only option for getting from Murano to Venice. Well, we could take a water taxi, but those are pricey. Individual tickets for the vaparetto run 6.50 Euros, which is about $9.75 USD. The tickets are good for 70 minutes. OR… for 31 Euros (approx $47 USD) you can buy a pass that’s good for 72 hours. That is the vaparetto pass that John can’t find. Everyone empties their pockets, suitcases, and wallets. Look under the bed, behind the dresser, in the nightstand drawer. Remove bedding, shake towels, lift the rug… no pass anywhere. So John has to buy a new 72-hour pass. Bummer.

3. We all have breakfast together in the little café at our hotel. John will be using Dad’s camera until he can purchase a new battery, and Dad is using Mom’s camera. Mom and I are using our eyes. After breakfast, we head out for the day. However, Dad soon realizes that he left Mom’s camera at the café. It was still there when we went back. Whew! Crisis averted.

4. Joy thinks all the little dogs on their little leashes being walked by chic Venetians are adorable. Until she steps in a little pile of poo. Now Joy has only bad words to say about the damn dogs. Mom reminds Joy that there are other English-speaking people around, many of whom are children. So Joy uses Mexican swear words instead.

5. Mom spots a small fountain. "Hey Joy, you can wash the bottom of your shoe off here." Good idea, Mom! Slosh bottom of shoe, wipe on sidewalk, slosh, wipe… damn, what did they feed this dog? Slosh, wipe, slosh, wipe, slosh, wipe, etc., etc. "Hey Joy," says Mom, "I’m going to get a picture of this!" Joy grins for the camera. Mom takes one and then wants to take another. Joy grins for the camera again. Click. Then Joy looks down and realized the entire back portion of her pants from the knee down is soaked. Oh, Joy forgot to watch out for the fountain-y part of the fountain.

6. It’s a sunny day, which is nice.

After that first wacky morning, the rest of our time in Venice went smoothly. John bought a new vaparetto pass and a camera battery and I was able to wash all the poo off my shoe.

I’m not going to even try to describe Venice; it’s completely beyond my ability. You have to go there and experience it for yourself. You MUST! John and I loved it so much that we stayed 2 days longer than we had originally planned. I shopped like a mad-woman and John has photographic evidence of every square inch of the island.

One of the highlights for me was touring the Jewish Ghetto museum and three synagogues. The Venetian Ghetto is the oldest in the world and was incredibly interesting. I bought a book with a bunch of pictures and a brief overview of the history of the area. When you are in Venice, you must make the Jewish Ghetto part of your itinerary!

Posted by JoyC 11:14 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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