Saturday, April 20, 2019

25th Anniversary Cruise, Part 5: Florence

In this series of posts I'm describing the Mediterranean Cruise my wife Becky and I took in 2018 for our 25th anniversay, Here in Part 5 I'm covering our fifth stop, Florence.

Florence (★★★★)

Florence is famous for being the birthplace of the Renaissance, without which we'd all be leading significantly more mundane lives. Having to see Florence in a single day is a sin, but it's better than not seeing Florence at all. 

Our first view of Florence after jumping off the tour bus was exciting, and that feeling continued throughout the day. Every corner we turned had something significant to see, whether it was the natural beauty of Tuscany or a work of architecture.  

Walking through Florence

Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most important art museums in the world.  It is crammed full of a massive amount of art. We unfortunately had a short time here, and as our tour guide whisked us from one room to the next I knew that for each masterpiece we were shown there were 100 we had to skip past. It also didn't help that every single person in there was trying to take pictures at the same time. It is nicely arranged so that you can see the progression of art styles over time.

Statue of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Patron of Renaissance Culture

If I ever have the opportunity to return to Florence, I'd want to spend a lot more time here. Even as we were being whisked own corridors, I realized that even the ceiling above our heads were covered in artwork

Serious Art

Some of the key works in the Uffizi Gallery are from Botticelli, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rafael. In particular I remember The Birth of Venus by Botticelli.

The Birth of Venus

The best city shot of Florence I got was actually looking out the window from one of the floors of the Uffizi gallery: 

Piazza della Signoria

The Uffizi Gallery is adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria, the historic center of Florence. This was a marvelous place to look about and take in the essence of Florence. We enjoyed espresso there.

Piazza della Signoria


Once again a chance to eat Italian food in Italy! Our tour included lunch as a group at Osteria dei Baroncelli, right around the corner from the Uffizi Gallery. The restuarant had an ornate interior, fitting for its location. Lunch included bread, wine, a pasta starter (enthusiastically served family style from the largest serving bowl I have ever seen), veal, salad, and Tiramisu. 

A Delicious Italian Lunch

Walk Across Florence

The other art gallery on our itinerary was the Accademia, where Michalangelo's David is housed—but that's quite some distance away. We walked across Florence for what felt like miles; inspiring sights to see, but also hot and tiring.

The Long March across Florence

On the way, we saw the Duomo from the outside. The dome is a familiar symbol of Florence, but I hadn't realized the dome was part of a much larger structure, a majestic cathedral building.


We also saw the Florence Baptistery, with bronze doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti containing detailed Old Testament scultures. Michelango called them "The Gates of Paradise."

The Gates of Paradise


Finally we made it to the other art gallery, the Accademia. This gallery contains major works from Michelangelo included his statue David. The status was originally in the Piazza della Signoria where a replicate still stands, but the original was moved to the gallery in order to protect it.

Art by Michelango

The biggest draw in the gallery is of course the David statue. An awful lot of people were perpetually surrounding the statue, including art students.


Florence was a wonderful place to visit, and we give it 4 stars. We really wished we had more time there.

No comments: