Mom & I were up early according to Greek/Italian standards. At 7:00 we moseyed onto the garden terrace of Hotel Della Signoria for the complimentary breakfast. There were around ten tables outside on the garden rooftop and eight more inside the albergo a.k.a. hotel, all with pink tablecloths. Lush plants -- some potted and some growing in a box – lined the railing. The awning was retracted, letting the morning sun graze the tops of our heads. Atop, Mom & I watched storeowners wipe down their windows and brush off the sidewalk/entranceway before Firenze started to crawl with tourists.
A short lady in a pastel blue dress (that stopped at her shins) and black sneakers approached our two-top and – in the absolute sweetest voice – greeted us "Buongiorno" and asked "cafĂ©?" "No, grazie" a.k.a. "No, thank you" was our synchronized reply. She set down a covered basket. Inside were pastries and breads, along with individual jam, butter and Nutella (an Italian staple) packets. We must have been spoiled at the Royal Marcella Hotel in Roma because this hardly seemed like the advertised "continental breakfast". The little, old lady returned with a pitcher full of arancia a.k.a. orange juice. Like in Greece, it was not the typically American, full-of-pulp Tropicana. It must have been a regional variety of fruit because it tasted like an orange mixed with a grapefruit and was delicious (in fact, I had been chugging it at the continental breakfasts daily)!

Not full, but not hungry we walked for not even five minutes to the world-renowned Palazzo degli Uffizi (pronounced "ooh-feet-zee"). Mom & I had pre-purchased tickets that allowed us to skip the line (and si a.k.a. yes, there was already a line). It was surprisingly warm and stuffy inside the galleria a.k.a. gallery. We both thought a museum of such importance would take better care of its exhibits.

The galleria was cavernous with connected rooms branching out from the main, U-shaped hallway. Like in Greece, I looked at paintings and distinctly remembered seeing these same masterpieces scaled down to fit onto a page in my Art History book at Miami University. In addition, every corridoio a.k.a. corridor was lined with busts and statues/sculptures. Though captivating, after some time the Madonnas and Caravaggios started to look alike. Unfortunately, the room with Boticelli’s famous Birth Of Venus was closed. In between the stampede of guided tours, Mom and I mostly had the loggia to ourselves. We saw Firenze with all its red-tiled roofs spread out towards the hills, steeples constantly breaking the horizon. Facing the Arno we followed the river as far as our eyes could see and counted six bridges to the north.
Obviously there were heralded pieces of work in the Uffizi but Mom & I agreed the unsung, most beautiful feature was its ceiling. Each fresco was at least 20 x 20 feet long but had a theme like ships, saints or sea shells. Some had odd designs, most were ornate -- like everything thus far in Italy. One ceiling in particular had a centered shape that was reminiscent of a large Spirographic drawing, but my favorite fresco was the trellis (Google it since pictures were prohibited).

A few hours later when Mom & I exited the Uffizi groves of people milled around Piazza della Signoria: Firenze’s civic center. A fontana and numerous statues were littered around the courtyard of the piazza, including a replica of David by Michaelango (the original stood there until 1873). Inside the Loggia dei Lanzi – an open-air, covered courtyard – were various statues like a bronze Perseus.
Given the minor breakfast and amount of walking that morning, Mom & I returned to the albergo for a nap. We re-emerged onto the city streets refreshed and ready to continue exploring. We were excited to see the second of Italia’s "Big Three": Il Duomo/The Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori a.k.a. The Dome/St. Mary of the Flower. Ten minutes later Via de Calzaluoli opened up to the swarming Piazza del Duomo.
Giant, both in height and area was an understatement -- just like Il Colosseo a.k.a. The Colisseum. Even taller to my right was the silent campanile a.k.a. bell tower, reaching for the sky. It was distracting to look at the Duomo because it was so ornate, like frescoes above the doors and bas-reliefs of numerous saints (which you can hear Mom counting in the video). Plus, the undulating red, green and white marble lines of the western and eastern wall made me feel like I was tripping.

To me, the shining, golden sphere with the cross atop the monumental, red-brick roof was characteristic of Firenze’s pride in the aesthetics. If Italy were a high school, Roma was the stocky bully and Firenze was the pretty Prom queen.


  1. Nice Pictures and story. No cafe?? haha That's the staple over there. I love Italian espresso! Did you see the David? I didn't feel like waiting in line so I had to pass.

  2. I KNOW! I so badly wanted to fit in and drink cafe at every meal but it's just no to my taste.

    We skipped Accademia where *original* David is & visited Uffizi. If I had to do it over again I probably would've picked Accademia or Palazzo Pitti museums. I've heard horror stories about the lines -- if you go back go PRE-PAID TICKETS! Thanks for still reading.... coming up: a city you probably didn't visit in Italy ;)


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