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September 18, 2011

The train station in Florence.

Tuesday, September 13

We headed south from the station to our pensione room. The Church of Santa Maria Novella is just below the station.

On the way we crossed the Carraia bridge, getting our first view of the Arno. Looking east, the San Trinita bridge, and the Ponte Vecchio beyond.

Our room at the Istituto Gould, The Institute is part of the Foresteria Valdese, or Waldensian Church, a group of Protestant churches that offer guesthouse accommodations throughout Italy.

Wednesday, September 14

Happy Birthday, Nick!

Today we walked around the area just above the river, and made reservations for the Uffizi gallery on Thursday.

Scooters are the ideal mode of transportation for Florence’s narrow winding streets, but the drivers are apparently intent on intimidating, or worse, pedestrians.

Well, of course I want the Lord to be happy.

The gate to the city.

Our first view of the Duomo, or dome, of Santa Maria del Fiore. The area around the church is so hemmed in by other buildings that a satisfactory view is impossible nearby. We had better opportunities later.

Clergy in their smocks are a common sight in the neighborhood.

Peggy at yet another sweet shop.

The courtyard of the U-shaped Uffizi.

Where did this locks-on-bridges thing come from? These at the foot of the Ponte Vecchio.

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Two views, looking east and west respectively, from the top of the Ponte Vecchio.

Thursday, September 15

Uffizi day. No photos allowed in the galleries, but I got this shot of the courtyard looking down from the neck of the U. The Uffizi is justly reknowned for its collection of Italian art. The highlight, for me, was the Botticelli room, with The Birth of Venus, Primavera, and many others not so famous, including an Adoration of the Magi with the same attention to detail and facial expression present in several much larger paintings.

There were many, many other painters represented, including Giotto, Lippi, and the Pollaiolo brothers, whose work I had not seen before. We walked out five hours after we entered, with a half-hour break, and it was a day well spent. There is no art book or web site that can possibly reproduce the sensation of standing before these masterworks. Scale, color, detail look entirely different on the real thing.

The nearby Ponte Vecchio, seen from the Uffizi.

The Duomo from the cafe plaza.


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