Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ah, Florence

Ah, Florence.  Something I had only seen in pictures and now I have seen the Duomo,
and the bell tower,
however, with our guide leading us to other important sights, I want to share these with you.  Our first visit was to one of the gorgeous Florentine churches.  Of course, right across the road was the monastery.  This not being unusual to have the monastery so close to "work", the next street was not quite what I had expected,  the Via Delle Bella Donne, the Street of Beautiful Women.  Hmmmmmm!
Along that same street told me that nothing is new in the world.  The "drive-up" window is frequently seen in buildings of Florence.  Imagine, arriving in your chariot filled with children and not having to drag them all into the store.  Wonderful!
With all the gorgeous churches around, the people during the plague, when about a third of Florence perished, feared gathering to worship.  On the street corners, plaques were erected for quick prayers.
  As you may have noticed, most of my pictures are very gray.  A spot of color---
all under the umbrella of the day.
On we walked to the faux statue of Michelangelo's David.  One preschooler was very curious.  So curious that she climbed  onto David's pedestal to hold his hand.  Alas, one of his fingers broke off the statue.  Just how do you explain that?   It has been since reattached.  After several mishaps, David now resides safely in a museum.
People gathered to watch races, be involved in festivals, and other activities of ancient Florence.  Public bathrooms were difficult to find, therefore, narrow passages ways were constructed that were open for general usage.  How convenient for all.
Interested in buying fabrics from the merchants?  Of course, you would want to be sure they were being honest.  Just step outside the shop and carved on the wall is the official measure of that time.
Oh, you rode your horse to work.  Don't worry about an overcrowded parking lot.  Just tie your horse to any of the rings conveniently located on your office building.
You are tired of the kids.  Yelling, screaming, whining.  They just never stop.  Ah, but the residents of ancient Florence were very wise.  Just leave them in this gated area and if you do not retrieve them in three days, never fear, they will be educated and taken care of by the church. (Nobody shared that information with me!)
On top of the Duomo is a gold ball containing the remains of saints.  During a storm, it came loose, rolled down the dome into the street without breaking.  The place where it landed is a holy spot, not because the ball did not break, but because it did not kill anyone!
After three hours of intriguing information by our delightful guide, Michael Lee, we were hungry.  Off we went to Mario's a family owned restaurant since 1953.  Yes, we had to wait for our table, but it was well worth our time.
You are able to sit where they want you to. If you are lucky you will meet new dining partners from another country.  We were nine, therefore, we had a table just for us.  Yes, it was crowded.  Yes, it was noisy. Yes, the food was delicious. Yes, we will all return.  The first thing to arrive after we were seated was Tuscan bread wrapped in paper napkins.  As you will learn later, this was no ones favorite.
The bean soup was delicious.  Olive oil is a staple of Tuscany and perfect for an autograph.
Joe was in heaven with his Tuscan steak.  Immediately before cooking, it was cut just for him.  His choice of doneness?  Rare.  Well, in Marios, they will only cook the steak rare.  It is your problem if you do not 
like your steak rare!
I do hope you enjoyed your visit to Florence.  Oh, yes, there are lots of other things to see.  This is just a taste.


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