Sunday, June 3, 2012


Finally getting around to wrapping up the blogging about our Italy trip. I can't believe we were in Rome a month ago!

The last stop of our trip was Florence. Being the end of the trip and going to see a lot more art and museums, we didn't take as many pictures, so I will be combining all of Florence into one blog.

The first day we packed up our room at Villa Pitiana and drove back to Florence. It was typically a 30 minute drive, but then it took us an hour and a half to get to the right street for the car rental place, since everything is tiny one way streets. Our hotel was only like two or three blocks away, but we couldn't check in yet, so we left our bags there and headed through the city.

First stop was the Accademia, with the original and famous statue of David. It was was extremely impressive and we totally snuck a picture of it, since you aren't supposed to take pictures.

There were a couple other exhibits, etc. in the Accademia, but the coolest thing was the series of "The Prisoners," which are statues by Michelangelo that he had worked on and never completed. They are figures literally breaking through the marble and you can see the chisel marks made by Michelangelo himself!

Then we went through the Medici Chapel and Medici Palace (separate buildings). The Medicis are the family that essentially founded Florence and made it a great economic power. The Medici Chapel has a lot of great works by Michelangelo. The Palace is full of art and has had many uses over the years.

After the Medici Palace we wandered over to the Duomo. It was set to close soon so we decided to just enjoy the exterior of the building since it was especially extravagant.

Since it was still relatively early, we went through the Palazzo Vecchio, which is the town hall of Florence, and is also filled with art. The nice thing about this art was that it wasn't all religious. There were apartments for each of the major Medici family members and the art features their real-life works and events. While we were there they were preparing for the Italian State of the Union, so I am glad we went when we did! There were great signs with information about the Medicis, the uses of the rooms, and descriptions of the art that gave us a good idea of what it was like to live in the Palazzo and back during the Renaissance.

The piazza in front of the Palazzo Vecchio is really interesting with a couple fountains and also a collection of statues housed in a large covered courtyard.

The next day we were a little slow getting out the door but we eventually headed over to the Uffuzi Gallery. It was absolutely filled with art. We decided to buy a guidebook from the Gallery so that we would have a better idea of the artists and details about the works. No pictures, since the whole point is to actually enjoy the art in person. We saw the Birth of Venus, Primavera, some Leonardo DaVinci, all sorts of stuff. We both definitely felt like the more realistic the better, so apparently we aren't big impressionists.

After the Uffuzi we headed to the Duomo to see the dome. It really is kind of the opposite of St. Peter's in Rome since the Duomo is very detailed and intricate outside but more simple inside.

That evening we had our cooking class! We felt our trip was more complete after learning how to cook in Italy. We met some great people including a couple that was from Oklahoma and New York, and he brought his parents and aunt and her husband along on the trip so it was a great family vacation. We spent a lot of time talking about our next vacation and meeting these great people made us want to do one with family even more.

In our cooking class we made eggplant caprese, pasta from scratch (we now own a pasta press at home as a result!), a tomato sauce, breaded turkey with a white wine sauce and tiramisu. After making it we got to eat it and enjoy some delicious wine. It was so much fun!

Our last day was really hot out, like 85 degrees with a lot of humidity, and Dylan was miserable (I reminded him he lived in a humid place for 25 years...). We went to Santa Croce church, where a lot of famous Italian are buried including Michelangelo, Dante, and Machiavelli.

After that we were really done with the religious art, so we went over to the Galileo Museum and learned about his impact on science, got to play around with the interactive exhibits and then we learned about the history of science and its growth due to factors such as the military.

Then we headed over across the Arno to Oltrarno with the intention of going to the Pitti Palace and also seeing the gardens there, but instead we just did some shopping and decided it was way too hot.

The last little bit of our time in Italy involved an amazing dinner with full courses (including full courses of beverages). We had a risotto that we split that Dylan has since made here at home and Dylan got his bistecca al florentine, among other things. It was absolutely splendid.

Then we hopped on the planes and made our way back home! It was an amazing trip and really made both of us want to travel more. I am very glad we did took the trip so that we can make sure we budget in time and money to travel and start sucking up to our parents so they either watch our kids or come with us!

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