Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Italy 2013: FLORENCE III

Our last day in Florence! 

Full disclosure: it has taken me a week of just staring at this photo-filled, wordless rough draft to be able to write anything down. The reality is that I have been so tired for the past couple weeks and every time I've gone to write this post, my mind just goes fuzzy. But my self created guilt has been gnawing at me over this, so today, my goal is just to get something down. So here ya go!

First we took a long walk to the Brancacci Chapel to see the Masaccio frescoes.
So gorgeous
We liked the Brancacci because its quiet and open, tucked away from the regular tourist spots.

After the Brancacci Chapel we began our walk back to the city center to find some lunch, but not without a quite unfortunate event. 
But first a little back story: On our first night in Spello while we were looking for a place for dinner, a poorly timed pigeon pooped on my unsuspecting Joey. Home again we went to clean up his head, and from then on out we made sure not to walk too close to the buildings and by extension the herds of pigeons lining the rooftop edges. 
Now back to our walk. We're strolling along the Arno river, careful to avoid ledges and areas splattered with pigeon poop. As we're walking, I see a bird flying towards us, and I just get this nervous feeling. I quickly grab Joey's arm ad pull him towards me, but I was too late. Like a WWII bomber, this bird swooped in dropped a big bullet of bird poop. I swear you could hear the whistling sound as it dropped.  turned Joey around, checking if he was ok, and there it was, tucked away on the inside of the collar of his polo shirt. Joey made every effort to stay calm while I grabbed the tissues and hand sanitizer from my bag and attempted to clean the mess and simultaneously stifle the reflex to yak myself. It was one of those laugh so you don't cry moments, that is for sure. Lunch took a back seat as we made our way to the hotel so that Joey could once again clean up and change his shirt after being pooped on. I don't know what the odds are of being pooped on twice within five days, especially in such a dramatic fashion, but suffice it to say, we are still wary to this day any time we go outside.

After such a frustrating and disgusting event, we were more than happy to grab some gooey and hot artichoke pizza and find a spot outside the bargello to enjoy our lunch.
This guy spent like five minutes licking the grass patch.
Next was a walk around Piazza della Signoria and a stop for gelato, of course.
Behold, one of our top three gelato flavors: tiramisu. Its arguably more amazing than the dessert in fact. We loved it so much, we even went back for a second cup later that night.
After lunch and some gelato we headed to the Uffizi to see some awesome art. And here's my tip for tackling the Uffizi: go in the afternoon. Seriously. Remembering my first Uffizi experience on the Travel Study trip, I spent the whole day telling Joey just how terribly packed and stuffy it is, with sweaty bodies pushing everywhere (and of course not a soul uses deodorant) and preparing him for the stressful yet beautiful experience that is the Uffizi. So imagine my surprise when we walked in to the first gallery and---there was room! We could see the floor! We could see the paintings! We weren't getting elbowed or stepped on! We could breathe! It was marvelous, marvelous I tell you! And after doing a little googling, my theory was confirmed---museum attendance greatly declines in the afternoon. So if you want to go to the Uffizi and actually enjoy the Birth of Venus, go in the afternoon. 
We had a great time at the Uffizi. The Botticelli's are beautiful, and we even found an Annunciation painting by him that was perhaps our favorite from the museum. Several of the galleries were closed so I was pouty that once again we wouldn't get to see some of my other favorite paintings, but luckily they were just moved to a newly renovated area of the museum. So it turned out to be a very successful visit!
For dinner we ventured out farther than we had our entire stay in Florence---and were greatly rewarded for it. We found this too cute restaurant tucked away on a side street and it was so perfect for our last dinner in the city. We got a pesto pasta which was truly amazing, but my favorite was the potato pasta ravioli with wild boar. So good! And now we can say we've had wild boar, so that's cool and all.
We had one last night walking around Florence---ha oh, fun story: while walking past the duomo we spotted two love birds making out on the steps of the cathedral. And while engaged in a passionate lip lock, one of those creepy flower guys just walked right up to them and tried to sell them some ugly roses. While they're making out! You must really have no shame to be able to approach people sitting on each other's laps and sucking face, and attempt to make a buck. It was a weird thing to see.
But anyways....Hey! A carousel!
We enjoyed the Duomo one last time before heading to the train station the next morning for our next and final stop: Rome!

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