Trip Report – RTW – Part 7: Italy Day 3: Florence

The next day, we headed on to Florence, probably the most important city in Italy, considering its influence on history, art and fashion since its founding in 80BC. Home to Ponte Vecchio, the Florence Cathedral, numerous local shops and artisans, this city, though awash with tourists, is quite an impressive place to visit.

Our exposure to centuries of art and fashion started with this Smart, wrapped in leather:IMG_2658

And to this protest banner (it reads, “NO to underground parking in Piazza del Carmine!”):IMG_2660

He is referring to this piazza – unless the suggestion is to have BOTH an underground AND an above ground, which I assume to not be the case (ie, I assume they want all these cars underground), then I really don’t see what his problem is – this looks absolutely terrible:IMG_2664

I’ve seen gardens on roofs, but this is pretty extreme:IMG_2661

Some beautiful frescoes:IMG_2665

A pretty view off one of the bridges of the nice hotels on the opposite side:IMG_2675

St-Regis Florence, an SPG Category 7 hotel:IMG_2676

Excelsior, a Westin hotel – SPG Category 6 (they really got that waterfront locked down):IMG_2677

A view towards Ponte Vecchio:

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View down one of the narrow Florentine streets:IMG_2690

The Firenze Cathedral, an absolutely monumental (and intricate) creation:IMG_2708 IMG_2711 IMG_2713 IMG_2714 IMG_2715

The Florence Baptistery:IMG_2709

 

The Gates of Paradise, by Lorenzo Ghiberti:IMG_2716IMG_2717

On the walk back to Ponte Vecchio, came across this old Mini Cooper:IMG_2732IMG_2734

And a man contemplating his street art:IMG_2739

And the replica of Michelangelo’s David, of course (the real one is inside the building, for preservation reasons):IMG_2747

Some more statues around David:IMG_2752IMG_2753

And some cops busily being … cops (and fervently messaging on their cell phones……….. right next to that photocopier from the 1970s – what do they do, photocopy documents on the crime scene?):IMG_2755

A walk down the alley of famous people’s busts (despite my overall penchant for high culture, I wasn’t aware this many famous people were from Florence):IMG_2761

View of Ponte Vecchio from the other side:IMG_2763

More old construction around the Ponte Vecchio:IMG_2764

Two very proud policewomen, crossing Ponte Vecchio, preserving the hordes of tourists from their worst enemies (themselves…):IMG_2765

Ponte Vecchio used to be a butcher alley… now sellers peddle gold and silver (or so they claim), bad jewelry and tonnes of cheesy souvenirs. IMG_2769

Another view down a Florentine street:IMG_2770

 

In the end, we only spent about three quarters of a day in Florence. A better visit is, of course, required – but at least we got the opportunity to visit this city and see where the Medici family spent most of its golden years, influencing world affairs.