Saturday, October 15, 2011


Top of Duomo Dome
This week it was Florence...but not before we got what probably will be our last day in at the beach.  Our apartment is an easy five minute walk from the free beach on Lido, so we took advantage of the incredible day.  Below is nice picture of me passed out on the sand.  I don’t find out that Sadie has taken these photos until they end up ready for the blog.  She has a whole file of me sleeping awkwardly, making ridiculous faces, or me ripping my pants in public.  It’s amazing how much of a kick she gets out of seeing me make an fool out of myself...haha!
After our performances were done for the week, we had Florence on the agenda.  I had been looking forward to taking Sadie down there because it’s one of my favorite cities and she had yet experienced its uniqueness.  I was also in the process of finishing up an 800 page biographical novel on Michelangelo just as we got to Florence, so I was overloaded with Firenze history.  
Rape of the Sabine Women by Jean de Boulogne
Fun Fact #1: Thanks to Lorenzo de Medici (Lorenzo the Magnificent), Florence was the artistic capital of the world during the Renaissance.  They were blessed with some of the greatest artists, thinkers, and scientists the world has ever known and with Lorenzo in charge, the city had a patron that had the funds and love of art to drive the Renaissance period to new heights.

Duomo covered in pink, green, and while marble 

Fountain of Neptune in Palazzo Vecchio
Our hotel, though not quite a five star hotel (more on that in a moment), was in a great location.  We were only two blocks from the Duomo, so all the major spots were within walking distance.  We hit up most of the obligatory sites (Palazzo Vecchio, Pitti Palace, Duomo and Brunelesschi’s Dome, Ponte Vecchio) but one stood out above the rest.  Maybe it was because of having just read about its creation, but seeing the David was awe inspiring for both of us.  As you walk into the corridor lined with MA’s unfinished Prisoner statues you feel like they are guarding the King at the end of the row.  For anyone who has never seen the David up close before, he is absolutely massive.  He sits underneath a glass cuppola that pours sunlight onto his head.  Sadie and I both got chills seeing the sculpture up close.  Some pieces of art don’t live up to their name and history when you see them in person.  The David however is more amazing than you could possibly imagine from looking at a picture.  
The Pitti Palace 
Fun Fact #2: Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, who were both working and living in Florence at the same time, didn’t get along very well.  Leonardo was originally given the commission to sculpt the block of marble that eventually became Michelangelo’s David, but he turned it down because he felt sculpting was a lower form of art.
So back to our little hotel.  Again, great location, but the rooms had a laughable tackiness to them.  Our room, the “Giotto Room,” was painted a light purple and gold framed religious art surrounding us on all sides.  The bed had a huge draped crown headboard over the bed made of the finest crushed purple velvet available.  There wasn’t a bathroom (one toilet down the hall shared by the whole hotel) in the room, but there was a sink/shower combination.  Which is ideal for brushing your teeth and washing your hair at the same time!
The highlight of the room was the bed...or should I say beds.  Upon entering the room the bed looked like it was a nice size full or possibly even a queen.  After further inspection, we saw that it was two twin mattresses that had been velcroed together.  Still a major step up from Como, so both of us didn’t mind.  
That night, in the midst of one of the most pleasant nights sleep I’ve had in a while, the beds started to ever so slightly separate.  I was positioned right on the crack of the two beds, which I now know is the last place you want to be when European beds are velcroed together.  What I didn’t realize was that not only were there two mattresses, but they were also on separate frames.  The velcro did all it could, but it finally gave out at around 3:00am.  The beds splits, the frames shot in opposite directions, I collapse onto the floor with one mattress toppling on top of me.  Great night of sleep indeed!  What was even better was that Sadie was perfectly fine in the other bed.  She woke up just in time to see me sprawled out on the floor with the mattress on top of my head,  which lead to the appropriate response of her laughing uncontrollably.  Needless to say I didn’t sleep so well the rest of the night.
The next morning I tried to explain the previous nights episode to the woman behind the counter in hopes of a room change, money back, or at least some kind of apology.  Not quite. The woman, instead, told me of the multiple times SHE had fallen out of bed over the years and how she had hit her head on the floor as well.  “Be grateful you didn’t hit your head like me!”   Yes, that was the response I got from the incredibly concerned hotel staff.  
**She did however, put a stronger piece of velcro on the two mattresses and they thankfully held through our second night.
The next morning we made up for our terrible night of sleep when we stumbled on a once a year wine/cheese/olive oil/honey tasting in one of the main squares.  About fifty wine producers from Chianti set up tents showing off there new products and for the unbelievably low price of two Euro, we were given a wine glass and free reign to taste as many as we wanted.  If you were in this situation, how many wines would you have sampled?  There is only one right answer...all of them.  Or that was the intention, until half way through we had had about eight bottles of wine each and could barely feel our legs.  Fortunately, it was still only noon, so in true Italian style we managed an early afternoon nap.  Only our nap lasted about five hours.  A marvelous way to spend a day in Florence...

Brunelleschi's Dome
Fun Fact #3:  Before Brunelleschi came up with the design for the dome on the duomo in Florence, the completed church was without a roof for over 100 years.  He studied the Pantheon in Rome to come up with the proper design for his famous dome.  You can go to the top of the dome for one of the most beautiful views in is however, 463 steps to the top!
Florence is an absolutely beautiful city.  The kind of city that we hope to get back to sometime soon...but next time we’ll make sure to get a room that has a bed that stays in one piece.

Ponte Vecchio

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