We arrived in the heat of a baking summer’s afternoon, after a quick stop at the Piazza Michelangelo to gain an eyeful of the ‘world’s most beautiful city skyline’ according to our Busabout Tour Guide. After unloading, dragging our bags through the hot streets to our hostel, settling in to a comfortable & large room (it was more like a hotel room – complete with complimentary soap & air conditioner!) we set off into the streets of Firenze. We were trying to find the Central Market, so we could work out where we were supposed to meet for the ill-dated Cooking Class the next day. Needless to say, the Class was a bust, due to injury or somat. We did not find this out until after we’d waited an hour, the trudged through the hot, dusty streets to hunt down the Busabout Tour Guide! The whole experience with Busabout has left me slightly unimpressed, but if we can fit in our next 3 stops before October, I’m willing to let them change my mind.
The Central Market was closed, only a few of the many, many, many leather shops and other stalls open in the area around the food market. So we wandered. And then walked into one of the most beautiful Piazza’s anywhere – the Piazza della Signoria. The Palazzo Vecchio stands here, with sculptures including David (replica of Michelangelo’s David, made in 1873), Hercules, and Judith with the Head of Holofernes. There was a lovely place to sit, with several sculptures of Sabine Women (pinched from Roman ruins) and other beautiful works of sculpture here, for the public to enjoy, without paying the fee to get inside the Uffizi.
My favourite had to be Perseus with the Head of Medusa, the victorious hero stands of the body of the headless Gorgon, and holds aloft her head. I was fascinated with the way Medusa’s body was portrayed, her limp hands in particular, though the neck sinews were an interesting feature.
I could have just sat in this Piazza all day. We did spend a few hours here, sitting down & resting our feet and absorbing. The ambience of such a busy square was beautiful, the ristorante’s scattered around worth checking out. We ate at one in view of the Palazzo Vecchio, complete with brushetta el pomodoro and Chef’s special ravioli.
Then, as the light got even more golden, a walk along the river, past the Ponte Vecchio, the bridge the Nazi’s refused to destroy because it was too ‘beautiful’. There is something special about the buildings clustered on the bridge. And the evening light made that walk worth the crush of people and tripping over cobbles.