Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Florence Day 3

By Justin Cruz

June 27, 2012

Florence day 3 kicked off like most of our days in Italy: With pastries. We went to the same cafe/restaraunt as we had on Day 1, the name of which I unfortunately cannot remember. This time though, rather than buying some pastries to eat at the restaraunt, we got a to go box and sat under the statues at Piazza della Signoria. It was some to go box, wrapped in red ribbons with all the food neatly organized on a little tray. We loved it. Plus, the pastries weren't bad either.

From there, we took a short walk to the Ufizi, planning on using the day to make the most of the Florence Cards we purchased yesterday. It was an art lover's dream and a theologist's treasure box. Starting with the flat art of the Christian painters of the Middle Ages, the Ufizi had everything from the works of Antonio and Piero del Pollaiolo to Botticeli's Nascita di Venere. They had the original Battesimo di Cristo, the Verrocchio and da Vinci work that, in legend, made the former put down his paintbrush, never to pick it up again after having his work shamed by that of his apprentice. There was even a replica of the work of the man that started it all: Donatello's St. Mark.

By the end of it though, we were all hungry again, so we set off for Trattoria da I Matti. You'd think that after nearly two weeks of binge pizza devouring we'd be sick of the stuff, but no, it was the most popular dish on the table. The other stuff was good too, and I got to try something new (gnocchi - little balls of potato flour dough in pasta sauce), which is (almost) always fun.

After lunch, we went to have a short visit at the Academia Gelleria, for more art. We didn't stay long though, as we only wanted to see the works of Michaelangelo. On the way in though, we did see the plaster composition of the Rape of Sabines. But the main attraction was in the next room, in which sat the legendary David, by Michaelangelo of course. The only other thing we saw was the gift shop, outside of which was a bright pink copy of the David.

Then we went home, but not after getting some gelato, as one would when in Italy.

Florence Day 2

By Rain Babauta

June 26, 2012

On our second day in Florence, we walked out to the Uffizi Gallery but on our way we stopped to see a 250 year old olive tree that just happened to be there. We continued to walk over to the Uffizi Gallery, but on our arrival, we saw how long the lines were. Figuring the lines would be long for all the museums, we bought some passes (Firenze Card) that would grant access to a number of different museums located around the city along with a little guide book that could tell us about the museums, tell us where they are located, and which museums we would be able to enter with the passes.

We then entered the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, a museum with lots of cool maps and paintings of the town of Florence. We went to the museum's upstairs section where there were lots of paintings on the walls and ceilings. Inside were also some sculptures and tables and furniture that the Medici family used! We also saw the private chapel that the Medici family used.

After the museum we were feeling a little hungry but not hungry enough for lunch so we stopped by a little sandwich shop called I Fratellini that also sells wine. There we split sandwiches in pairs. They had a very good Ham and mozzarella sandwich and the tomato, mozzarella, cheese and truffle oil sandwiches were just as delicious. When we finished we were still a little hungry so we could either get another sandwich or gelato. The children unanimously chose gelato of course so we walked around and found a place called Perche No!... that had lots of people inside and delicious gelato. When we got our gelato and went outside to eat it, we looked back into the shop about five minutes later and it was closed.

After our delicious snack break, we walked over to the Santa Croce church. Inside were many tombs in the floors and along the walls. Some of the people buried along the walls were Dante, the "father of the Italian language" and writing legend, Galileo, the world famous astronomer who was excommunicated from the church because of his beliefs in the solar system, Michaelangelo, one of the most amazing artists ever, and Machiavelli, the famous author of The Prince.

When we finished looking around the Santa Croce, we were exhausted and hungry again. We walked a little ways away and found a Jewish vegetarian restaurant called Ruth's. We had hummus and bread, falafel, minestrone soup, pesto penne, and pizza, and played tic tac toe. Then we headed back to our apartment but stumbled upon a store with lots of cool themed chess sets, figurines, and masks. After looking around, we went home for our usual afternoon rest.

Well rested, we headed off for dinner. We went to this place called Il Pizzaiuolo (supposed to be the best pizza in Florence) where we made reservations earlier that day. We were seated next to the place where they bake the pizzas so we could watch the chef. We ordered four pizzas: Margherita, a mushroom pizza, a Caprese pizza (tomato with basil and mozzarella), and one with artichoke with mushrooms. It was the best pizza we've had in Italy (and dad said it rivaled the best Neapolitan pizza in San Francisco). For dessert we had a strawberry panna cotta, cheesecake with chocolate sauce, and a ricotta cheesecake with pistachios and a candy top. On our way back home we stopped by Palazzo Vecchio's outside again and watched all the people gathered there at night. The exterior was even more beautiful at night than it was in the day time. Then we walked home to end our fun-filled day.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Florence Day 1

By Maia Cruz

June 25, 2012

On our first day in Florence we woke up and got ready for the day and soon headed out. We walked around the area for awhile and we came across a church and there we saw a statue of St. Peter and Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms. We walked around a bit more on the damp little sidewalks (for they had just washed the streets) and we came to the Palazzo Vecchio. The Palazzo Vecchio was this big old building with a tall clock tower and right next to it was a fountain and a bunch of statues. After we saw that we went walking around again and we came to these buildings with a little open space in the center with statues all around.

The statues were of very famous people -- there was a statue of Galileo and Amerigo Vespucci (according to dad that's the guy they named the Americas after.) After we looked at the statues we went walking and went to the river. We stood looking at the river for awhile and then we headed off to breakfast. We went to a posh cafe called Gilli (almost 300 years old) and got some yummy pastries and juice (Noelle got chocolate all over -- must have been really good). After we ate we headed off again to see more sights in Florence.

We walked up to this big cathedral with a tower and a big dome in the back called Santa Maria Del Fiore, also commonly called The Duomo. The whole thing was made out of pink, white and green marble and had detailed designs all around and paintings and marble statues at the top. We didn't go into the cathedral itself but we did go into the tower right next to it and walked all the way to the top. We had to get tickets and when we got through we started walking. There were 419 steps up the whole tower and I was wheezing between flights but on the bright side it was a great workout for my legs!

Although the climb was tough the view was amazing. We could see everything from up there. After we gazed at the view we headed back down. After we saw the Duomo we went walking and stopped by a market near our house for some cereal and milk and shampoo. We went back to our house and put away all the supplies we got and then we rested for awhile before we went to lunch.  After a couple of hours at the house we went out again looking for a place to eat.

We found this awesome restaurant called Brac that had great pasta and bread. We got some anglioli pasta and pesto ravioli and this really cool rice dish with zuchini and carrots. My absolute favorite was the rice dish I loved it and I love zuchini! We walked around again after we ate and we saw the Ponte Vecchio which is the oldest bridge in Florence with a bunch of shops on it. We walked around that area some more and saw all these great shops and restuarants.

We stopped by this book shop and looked at some books and then I saw some books with English titles but all the rest of the books wer in Italian. I bought a notebook and then we went out and walked some more. We looked in different shops and then later on in the day we got some gelato and then we headed home.