Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Florence - Tuesday

Back in Florence, at our favorite cafe (partially because it had good food and coffee and on-street seating.... but mostly because we had purchased access to their wireless network the day before.)

This day we started off touring the Medici Palace.

One enters the palace courtyard through this archway. Marble that looks like flowing fabric never fails to draw me in. I'm fascinated by the juxtaposition of soft and hard... And this 'curtain' held back by cherubs was just too cute not to photograph.

The courtyard - the official greeting / meeting space. The walls were covered in hearldry and mentions of deeds and daring. Very grand, but not all that comfortable.

As opposed to the very different feeling private garden, which was just through an archway from the main courtyard. Yes, those are Orange trees and they were producing!

One of the exhibits was on Fibbonacci. Don't know what these books were about, but they were written by him and the illumination always something that grabs our eye.

Fibonacci's name also caught my eye because at work I've recently become aware of the "Fibonacci Series" of numbers - which we use for something too mundane to try and explain here. Never the less I was interested in the exhibit... but there were no English tranlations. I'd hoped to get something of these panels translated at some point.

OK, and this one REALLY piqued our curiosity - how are they tying Fibonacci here to medieval pavillions??

A run of the mill salon...

But this room was spectactular. Gilded with mirrors on one side and windows on the other. The ceiling had a great painting.

But the piece de resistance for the whole palace really was the Chaple of the Magi. This is one of the few palaces in Florence with a private chapel. And it is quite small - comfortably sitting a dozen people around the walls I think. But boy was it sumptiously frescoed!

Image stolen from Wikipedia

This is but one of 3 main Magi frescoes in the room - plus other compositions that are fit to every available inch of wall, and ceiling space. I could have just sat there for hours, I'm quite certain! However - they were wise to this and didn't allow any sitting. Sadly, we eventually had to move along. (Though our advisors were right - it was NOT because of crowds, we had all the space we wanted throughout the palace.)

We hit the Museum of San Marco just 45 minutes before closing time - because once again we were taken unawares of a museum that closes at 1:50 4 days a week.

This one time monastery houses a large collection of Fra Angelico's frescoes. Upstairs, where the monks 'cells' were, we could wander up and down the hall looking at the frescoes that decorated each one.

Though honestly we got more excited about another resident of this monestary: Girolamo Savonarola "whose personal charisma and prophetic fervor led him from humble scholar to celebrity preacher to prior of San Marco to leader of Florence to controversial martyr." (Rick Steve's Florence) Whew - what a roller coaster.

Or rather we got excited about his furniture. This style of chair is fairly popular amongst the SCA crowd we hang with, but we had no idea they were actually period!

Look - they even had plans!

After a quick bite to eat at a cafe in Piazza San Marco, then we hopped on one of the little city center electric busses and voila -- back at Ponte Vecchio. We walked across of course.

This is not a short bridge - and every single vendor's window is just packed with dazzling jewelry.

The southern shore of the Arno is known as the Oltrarno area, in other words, "the Other side". This neighborhood did feel more crowded, more cars - definitely a bit less of the charm of the northern bank of the Arno.

We walked the few blocks to the Pitti Palace - but we must have been quite tired because we have no pictures from there - LOL! None were allowed inside, and the front fascade is pretty stark so... I am sad we didn't get a chance to take in either of the gardens at the palace (Boboli or Bardini). They are extensive and looked spectacular from the windows. That should be on our list for next time.

Leaving there we decided to hop back on one of the electric busses and just ride around. Most of our conveyance in town had been by walking, and there were large swaths of areas we hadn't hit yet. We saw numerous city squares that looked interesting - especially the one with the carosel set up! Alas - only so much time.

We ended the day dining in front of Santa Croce church.



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