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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 ;-)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :-)