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Florence III

September 21, 2011

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Outside the Accademia gallery. Reservations are advised.

Saturday, September 17

Today we went to the Galleria dell’ Accademia. The gallery hosts a number of exhibits, including paintings from the Renaissance, sculpture by Lorenzo Bartolini, and a Russian icon collection. We enjoyed them all, but the unquestioned number one draw is the original statue of David by Michelangelo. The gallery said no photos, and I complied, although I saw several people sneaking shots. It doesn’t really matter. You can find plenty of excellent pictures of David, but nothing can compare with the sensation of confronting this huge perfectly carved piece of marble. Everything else is minor by comparison.

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After the gallery we walked over the the Grand Central market for lunch. Like its Budapest cousin, it appears to be housed in an abandoned train station, and is a collection of stalls offering local produce and foodstuffs, but it is neither as grand or as comprehensive as the one in Hungary.

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In the evening we walked over to the Santa Croce neighborhood, home to the church of the same name. Among other things the church holds the tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Rossini, and Machiavelli. The neighborhood itself, although near the Ponte Vecchio, is quiet and pretty much devoid of tourists and fancy shops.

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For supper we stopped at the nearby Pizzeria Dante, and were well served.

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Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo.

Sunday, September 18

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The forecast said rain, but the day opened so prettily that I decided not to bother with the umbrella. By the time we marched over the Arno I was having second thoughts.

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The guidebooks all say to take the number 12 or 13 bus up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view of the city, and so we did, along with everyone else. It was SRO all the way, but the ride took us through some of the most beautiful Florentine neighborhoods, tree-lined streets of expansive villas. By the time we arrived at the plaza, there was a fierce wind and the first raindrops were falling.

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The plaza’s own copy of David, in bronze.

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The view was indeed stunning, but we quickly abandoned plans to walk down and hopped on the first bus back.

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MacDonald’s in the rain.

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