We got our wish. When we woke up this morning, the sun was shining with just a few puffy white clouds floating across the sky. We took our time with breakfast and getting cleaned up, as our tickets for the day are untimed.
Our plan is to visit the Duomo and associated buildings while trying to avoid the long lines. Our fingers are crossed.
Florence is a great city to walk in. With the architecture and all the artwork you feel like you’ve stepped back into the Renaissance Period, except for all the noisy tourists everywhere you look. But you can overlook ‘most’ of them as you take in all the beautiful artwork and imagine how all the wonderful buildings were built. The amazing thing to me is that many of them took over a hundred years to construct, with the Duomo taking close to two hundred years.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, ‘the Duomo’, topped by Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome, the Baptistery of San Giovanni with its gilded doors created by Lorenzo Ghiberti – known famously as the ‘Gates of Paradise’ and Giotto’s Campanile combine together as a UNESCO World Heritage site. They are awe-inspiring to see and inspire “awes” when you see the lines of people waiting to enter ahead of you. However, pre-purchased tickets let you bypass the throngs who stand there complaining.
Being a sunny Saturday, the crowds were out in full force.
The shortest line was at the Baptistery, so that’s where we started. Everyone wants to see the gilded doors, but bypass the beautiful ceiling. We weren’t sure if the ceiling was painted or done with mosaic tiles, but either way, it was beautiful.
We made our way over to Giotto’s Campanile. The line wasn’t too long and there was some shade. While waiting in line, we noticed that the line for the Santa Reparata was even shorter and would allow us into the Duomo without waiting in the long line out front.
And ‘by golly’, we were correct. We were able to walk through the Duomo, see the underside of the dome, and light a candle or two for everyone in need before going down to the Santa Reparata.
The Santa Reparata is the remains of the original church or temple. They uncovered parts of a beautiful tile and mosaic floor, some crypts and the remnants of the original chapel.
As there was no way we were climbing the bell tower or dome, our visit was over. Though it was crowded, we walked around town for a bit. The piazzas were full of tourists and families.
If you know us, you know we love to sample the foods of the place we are in. Our dilemma was that we found a restaurant very near to the apartment, that had all the items on their menu we wanted to try, that had a wonderful chef and treated us like we were family. So the dilemma was easy to solve…after our first night out we just kept going back to Tavernetta Della Signoria and enjoying ourselves.
Our final meal was a delight. We started with some bruschetta, and then both had the filletto alla balsamico, with roasted potatoes. We skipped dessert for one last treat on the way home.
For our final treat, we had one last gelato before heading home and relaxing.
Despite the rain, we had a really nice time in Florence. Next, we move on to Tuscany.
Siamo venuti, abbiamo visto, abbiamo mangiato!