December 20, 2013 – Florence

This morning we get a slow start but we are finally up and out by 10:45. Since most things here are primarily open in the morning we have to be better about getting up and ready.

Our main event today is going to the Accademia, home to Michelangelo’s David. Along the way we pass through the Duomo square. Photo opportunity! The Duomo begun in 1296 and completed in 1436 has the largest brick dome ever constructed, a real engineering marvel of its day.

 Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo di Firenze
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo di Firenze

Included in the Piazza del Duomo are Giottl’s Campanile and the Baptistry.
Florence Baptistry, an octagonal building begun in 1059
Florence Baptistry, an octagonal building begun in 1059

We spend a little time in the square enjoying the beauty of these buildings. They all look a little grimier since we were here last. I think the cleaning process is much like the Golden Gate Bridge’s painting schedule – when you complete the painting (cleaning), you start all over again.
Sarah and John in front of the Baptistry's Doors of Paradise
Sarah and John in front of the Baptistry’s Doors of Paradise

Sarah  and the large Christmas tree in the square
Sarah and the large Christmas tree in the square

We spend the next several hours at the Accademia. Once more there is no line to get in. Unfortunately no photos are allowed, not even with no flash. I can only imagine that this rule is because if you have your own pictures you won’t buy anything from the gift shop. The big draw here is Michelangelo’s David. It is truly monumental and awe-inspiring every time I have seen it. Also there are the “prisoners” which are unfinished sculptures which look like the figures are trying to emerge from the marble. Sarah and I really enjoy the vast collection of early Renaissance altarpieces and paintings displayed here.
Replica of David in the Piazza Signorelli
Replica of David in the Piazza Signorelli

At this point it is going on 2 PM and time for lunch. We stop at Ristorante Accademia in San Marco square. Because the restaurant is near the Accademia everything is 2 euros more than elsewhere. Food pictures –

So lunch is really good.

At this point John and I are pretty worn out. My knee continues to be a big problem and is swollen from all the walking about in Rome yesterday. We head back to the apartment after buying some groceries. Sarah plans to visit the Duomo complex and also San Marco. Unforunately San Marco is only open in the morning and the Duomo is now selling only a combo ticket for a bunch of attractions and she is unsure whether she should go ahead and do everything alone. So not a totally successful afternoon. Once again we are too full from lunch to have anything more than a sandwich and go to bed.

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