Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Sights of Florence

After being abandoned on our tour we decided to try and find the Ponte Vecchio bridge.  I asked my son if there was anything he wanted to see since we were here and he mentioned the Palazzo Vecchio.   Purely by accident we stumbled across it.  Perfect.  However, before we found the Palazzo we found the ultimate Gelato place.  So many great flavours to choose from and they were delicious.  We ate our weight in gelato here since we were waiting out a brief shower anyway.  Seriously it puts our ice cream parlor's to shame.


Caffe Fiorenza Gelateria - I would like to thank the kind owner's and servers for their patience with us.
Then we continued down the avenue and found the Piazza della Signoria which houses both the Palazzo Vecchio and  the Loggia dei Lanzi
The Palazzo Vecchio is on the left in this picture.
The Loggia dei Lanzi with Fortitude, Temperance, Justice and Prudence set into the façade and overlooking the square.  I liked this setup as it's free and the statues are some really important works of art.  Such as Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus with the Head of Medusa the dark statue on the left just under the first arch.  Detailed and gory truthfully but it was Medusa with the hair of snakes so I guess that's ok. 

My surprise was the little statue of Hermes set into the base of the statue.  There were others but I couldn't get around to see them.
Birds hitching a ride on the backs of the Medici lions that guard the entrance.
The Rape of the Sabine Women - apparently abducting women from other areas for wives was a common practice. 
Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli stands just outside the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio.  A replica of The David guards the other side of the entrance.

Inside the First Courtyard

There is a museum and entrance to the great hall as well as beautiful sculptures but we were again beginning to feel the affects of crowds and the heat and humidity and decided to press on. 
And then we found it - Ponte Vecchio.  I had seen this bridge so many times in pictures before and still marvel at it remaining standing to this day.  What started out as butchers shops in medieval times now houses fine jewelry stores and antique shops.  Sometimes you need to see this to believe so I've included shots of some of the better pieces displayed.  I so wanted to spend a fortune here but again my more reasonable son kept moving me away from the entrances.  He knows his mother too well.

And now for some serious shopping. 
Marco Bicego Jewelry - my son was so right to keep me out of this store - I would have gone nuts in here.  I loved everything.


This store was all about pearls, coral in many colours and I would have gone crazy in there as well.
I loved these roman coin necklaces and was looking for one.  However, there not as common as I thought and the one ring I found was too big for my fingers. 
The centre of the bridge is open with great views. 
A state of Benvenuto Cellini occupies centre stage the right hand side of the opening. 

I did my best to avoid showing images of the crowds, and took most of my shots looking up, but is on the middle of the bridge and I couldn't get a shot that wasn't full of people.
If I couldn't shop - I could as least look and take pictures to drool over later.


Cameo's - I was really tempted here.

I took this shot to show the size and views beyond.  The shops are  really quite pretty and unexpected.

We visited our favorite pizzeria for dinner again that evening.  Pulcinella Pizzaiolo doesn't open until 7:00 p.m. but the pizza was the best I've ever had.  I wanted to take pictures of our food while we were over there, but my son would be half way through his meal before I could even pick up my camera.  It didn't work so no food images - sorry.

Up Next ... Venice

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