July 10, 2007

Final Florence

City of Florence is divided into four districts; Santa Maria Novella, Santo Spirito, San Giovanni, and Santa Croce. Our lodging at Pensione de Luisa Maria Medici, is the division between Santa Croce and San Giovanni. Duomo is a spectacular central focus point in the San Giovanni region, and was less than 2 blocks from our room. Currently the Duomo is being cleaned, tower portion is finished, but this side of the cathedral had yet to be cleaned.
At the Pensione, our hosts have spent more than 40 years collecting fine works of art, including wooden and marble life-sized sculptures, framed oil paintings, antique furniture, and added to their unusual collection with 1950's and 60's slick, shiny furniture, which works in an odd, quirky, artistic manner... Just outside our doorway, a gilt robe and bare feet of a wooden angel sculpture dangle to within a few inches of your head when entering.

Murals were added to each room, and were completed by the owner of the Pensione.

Across Orno River between San Giovanni and Santo Spirito, is Ponte Vecchio, known to some as "The Bridge of Gold". Oldest bridge in Florence; has been destroyed by floods several times, and rebuilt stronger each time. Originally, bridge buildings were used as a meat markets, but in late 1500's following a flood which left waste all over the river, butchers were removed and replaced with vendors of gold and silver, still remaining today. This bridge is filled with gold and silver shops of up to four stories tall, all vying for thousands of tourists passing by each day.

Galleries and museums visited in four days included the 1560 Uffizi Gallery, 13th Century Basillica Santa Croce, 1800's Bargello Museum; (built to hold overflow of artworks from Uffizi Museum), 1418 (Medici) Church of San Lorenzo, 1458 Palazzo Pitti, and 16th Century Galleria dell'Accademia , (Academy of the Art of Design); where Michelangelo's 19 foot-tall marble "David" looks over daily crowds. Below, from an open-air portion of Bargello Museum, where photography is allowed, and crowds are less obvious...

Back in France; found at the Chateau in Angers.