Wednesday, June 5, 2019

May 17 - Rome to Florence

May 2019 - Rome to Florence

We walked over one block and found a delightful cafe for breakfast, the server couldn't have been more friendly and helpful.

Time to check out and grab a cab to the Termini train station for the high speed train to Florence.

A great way to travel and it only takes two hours.

Arrivederci Roma.

Reserved table in dining car.

Lunch in the dining car.

Travelling at 246 km or 153 miles.

View from the train.

We grabbed a cab to the hotel. This was a wonderful hotel to stay in. Not only was the location great but the staff couldn't do enough for you.
We booked through Expedia, so don't expect the best room. This was too close to the lobby, but it worked.

Hotel overview
Hotel Giglio
Via Camillo Cavour, 85, Florence

Located in San Lorenzo, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Florence Botanical Gardens, Statue of David, and Gallery of the Academy of Florence. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Piazza del Duomo are also within 15 minutes. Florence-Le Cure Station is 15 minutes by foot and Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 19 minutes.
Hotel Features
This smoke-free hotel features a bar/lounge

When's the last time you saw a hotel key?? And so big and heavy, luckily they liked you to leave it at the desk when you went out.

Settled and we go out wandering.

This is the first of the Medici's palaces, on the same street as our hotel.

Click here for a fun short video of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi.

Cosimo the Elder, the first of the Medici to gain notable political status in Florence, married the daughter of a very prestigious Florentine family. Her name was the Contessina de’ Bardi. The couple first lived in Palazzo Bardi before Cosimo, being ambitious, decided to have a mansion of his own.

He bought what became the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi. It would have been much smaller than the one we see today

Gorgeous internal garden/courtyard.

Toronto is supposed to be getting its own version of the Italian chain market late in 2019 in the under renovation Manulife building where we both used to work.

So we stepped into the Florence location. We both shrugged our shoulders and said "meh". We have quite a few upscale local market chains and this didn't seem any different.

Florence's cathedral stands tall over the city with its magnificent Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, with the baptistery right across. The cathedral named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore is a vast Gothic structure built on the site of the 7th century church of Santa Reparata, the remains of which can be seen in the crypt.

The line to get in twists its way around the building. No, we didn't go in.

Quite literally, a box to receive donations to aid the poor. These might also be called alms boxes, and were generally wooden boxes affixed to a pillar or free-standing atop a wooden or stone pedestal. They were frequently located near the main church door.

The train station really is close by. It is just behind this church.

The Arno is the most important river of central Italy after the Tiber.

Definitely an icon of Florence!

Built very close to the Roman crossing, the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. Instead they blocked access by demolishing the medieval buildings on each side. On November 4, 1966, the bridge miraculously withstood the tremendous weight of water and silt when the Arno once again burst its banks.

It is always packed.

When the Medici moved from Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti, they decided they needed a connecting route from the Uffizi to the Palazzo Pitti on the other side of the Arno that would enable them to keep out of contact with the people they ruled. The result was the Corridoio Vasariano, built in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari and which runs above the little goldsmiths' shops on the Ponte Vecchio.

Palazzo Vecchio's current appearance is due largely to great works of renovation and interior decoration that were made around 1540, when Duke Cosimo I de’ Mediciand his wife Eleonora of Toledo decided to turn the palace into their residence. The court of the Medici was transferred to Palazzo Vecchio (from Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, seen above), which was transformed into a fascinating labyrinth of institutional chambers, apartments, terraces and courtyards.

Probably the most famous square in Florence!

Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in. It was named after the Palazzo della Signoria, also called Palazzo Vecchio. It is the main point of the origin and history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political focus of the city.] It is the meeting place of Florentines as well as the numerous tourists, located near Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza del Duomo and gateway to Uffizi Gallery.

My head popping in again.

The Loggia della Signoria (also called the Loggia dei Lanzi) is a stone building adjoining the Uffizi Gallery; it was built in the second half of the 14th century and used to host public meetings and ceremonies. Later transformed into an open-air sculpture gallery, it is home to several bronze and marble statues such as Perseus (by Benvenuto Cellini), the Rape of the Sabine Women (by Giambologna), the Medici lions (by Flaminio Vacca and Giovanni di Scherano Fancelli) and the Rape of Polyxena (by Pio Fedi).

Perseus with the head of Medusa.
The subject matter of the work is the mythological story of Perseus beheading Medusa, a hideous woman-faced Gorgon whose hair was turned to snakes and anyone that looked at her was turned to stone. Perseus stands naked except for a sash and winged sandals, triumphant on top of the body of Medusa with her snakey head in his raised hand. The body of Medusa spews blood from her severed neck. The bronze sculpture and Medusa's head turns men to stone and is appropriately surrounded by three huge marble statues of men: Hercules, David, and later Neptune.

You can admire other statues such as a copy of Michelangelo's David (the master copy is kept in the Accademia Gallery), a Marzocco sculpted by Donatello (the original is housed in the Bargello), Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli.

The Fountain of Neptune is a famous, huge fountain built by Bartolomeo Ammannati and his assistants between 1563 and 1565; also known as “Il Biancone” (The White Giant), it was meant to be an allusion to Florence's dominion over the sea.

A bronze representing Cosimo I on horseback by Giambologna.
The same photo that we had on our wall for years.

A quick church visit.

Time for dinner.

Links to previous posts about this trip:

May 12    Bordeaux to Loire Valley
May 16 - Rome


  1. It looks so busy everywhere and it is not yet peak season. Ponte Vecchio looks absurdly crowded. But busy for very good reasons. It all looks wonderful.


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