Sunday, 21 December 2008

Florence

Florence

Finally I found some time to tell you about my Florence adventure. In the last week of November I visited my good friend Giovanni Cera (aka Ciuccio51) and his wife Michela. They live in Florence, Italy and I had a wonderful week there. Yesterday I found some time to sort out my photos from the trip. Here are a few of them. More photos can be found on my Flickr photostream.
If you want to see the locations of these photo's you can also take a look at my map.

I arrived on Saturday. I left a cold and snowy Amsterdam around noon and two hours later I landed in Florence where the weather was mild and sunny. It’s like a different world. The country, the weather, the people…. Giovanni and Michela showed me a lot of their beautiful city and country.
On the first day they took me to Piazzale Michelangelo. From that point I had a spectacular panoramic view of the city. Also I could take this nice photo of Ponte Vecchio across the river Arno.

Florence

Near the Piazzale Michelangelo was a beautiful and very old (1015) Romanesque church. It’s the church of San Miniato al Monte. Impressive and beautiful, from the outside but also from the inside. It was Sunday and the church was packed with people, listening to a very old mumbling priest.

San Miniato al Monte

The next day it was raining but not very cold. Giovanni wanted to show me Villa il Gioiello, the house of Galileo Galilei in Arcetri near Florence. He had told me about this house and its history before and now I got to see it. The house isn’t open for public. There are only three keys to this house and Giovanni has one of them. It was a privilege to get in and see the house and gardens.

Villa il Gioiello, the house of Galileo Galilei

There’s no furniture in the house (that all went to museums) but that didn’t mind. The house is beautiful. Giovanni did some restoration work on this house, since it is owned by the University of Florence, for which he works as an architect.

Roof of the house of Galileo Galilei View from Galileo's house

After that we went to see the beautiful Palazzo Vecchio in the centre of Florence. The ceilings of this palazzo are all beautifully painted. Every little part of the ceiling is decorated. If I would stay a month in that museum I wouldn’t only have a very cramped neck but also I wouldn’t have seen half of the painted ceilings yet. And that’s not all because there are so much beautiful paintings on the walls as well.

Palazzo Vecchio

The square where this palazzo is situated is also very nice. Next to the palazzo is the Uffizi museum (photo left) and also there is a sculpture gallery, Loggia dei Lanzi, where I could admire the famous Perseus bronze by Cellini (photo right).

Via della Ninna Perseus

Is this post getting too long? Well.... I'm not finished yet, there is much more....

Giovanni showed me a lot that week. I won't bother you with telling you all and showing my entire photo collection but there are some things I really want to share with you. Just skip it if you don't find it interesting enough. I will never know ;-)

Greenhouse

He took me to see the Botanical Gardens of Florence. He showed me the old greenhouses he restored last year. The plants were inside for the winter and that was very nice to see. Outside Giovanni and the director showed me a very old (203 years) oak tree, Quercus suber. Beautiful and impressive.

203 year old oak (Quercus suber)

Another museum we visited that week was The Museum of Opificio delle Pietre Dure. In this museum are a lot of mosaics made of semi-precious stones. The style is typical for Florence. At first I didn’t think very much of it. It is not my style at all. But when you think that it’s all made with stones and you see how beautiful they captured the shades and textures of the subjects. It is truly amazing to see.

Stones

White flower table Mosaic of rozes

Michela and Giovanni took me also to the beautiful old town of Monteriggioni. It is situated on a hill near Siena in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany. It is extremely old and I suppose in the summertime packed with tourists. Now it was almost December and there were not much people walking around.

Monteriggioni-1

The sun was shining and we had a good lunch outside in the townsquare. Olives were being harvested and we had nice walk around the village.

Monteriggioni Square

ciuccio51

All in all I had a wonderful week. I will definitely be back to see more of Italy, Tuscany, Florence and of course Michela and Giovanni. Not to mention all the other nice people I met while I was there… Thanks Giovanni for inviting me :-)

Giovanni..... again.....

5 comments:

R.E. Wolf said...

Read. Every. Word. :)
Thank you for sharing this - what a beautiful trip! I believe I might have stayed in Monteriggioni forever.

Anonymous said...

Precise and brief you were. Your descriptions is very beautiful and nice. Brava ! Do not forget the funny visit to the antique market of San Lorenzo where I buyed a very good piece of meath ! (very good to eat a bit roasted, with the blood, for the young ladies and the girls).... And the "Madonna del Cardellino", by the divine Raffaello, that was restored just a few days before and exposed in the Medici-Riccardi Palace and the painting of Masaccio (very beautiful). But the thing very very funny was at the end the race by car Sunday morning and the steps with the red light to go to airport ... ah ah ahhhhhhh ...

Cecca said...

Thanks for posting - I'm very jealous, I love italy and Florence and it sounds like you had a fantastic trip and guided tour. Your photos are stunning too, the one of the Ponte Vecchio is beautiful! :-)

Carl Purcell said...

Thanks for posting this. It brought back fond memories of our trip and tour of Florence with Giovanni, dinner at his home with Michella, and his wit, humor and energy.
I asked him if all Italians were as friendly and nice as he and Michella. He paused, thought a second, then said with a laugh, "Yes, all of them" I think he was right.
Monteriggioni, Certaldo and Voltera were our favorites. I would return in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

That's amazing how you went into Galileo's last home!