The first few days of our Italian vacation were spent in Florence, or Firenze. We stayed at a comfortable little hotel a block from the famous Duomo. We walked all over the city, including the 414 steps up the Campanile tower to relish the views of Florence, as in the photo above (taken by Kate).
Our first trip was to the fantastic Uffizi museum, where we saw Botticellis (including Birth of Venus and Primavera), Titians, Rafaels and more. The picture above was taken in the Piazza della Signoria outside the Palazzo Vecchio. The next day, we headed over to the Pitti Palace, the former home of the Medicis, where we saw another overwhelming collection of artwork. We were amazed by the sheer number of masterpieces that seemed to be displayed more or less haphazardly all over the palace walls.
Earlier in the year, in preparation for this trip, I'd reread E. M. Forster's Room with a View, which has the wonderful chapter, "In Santa Croce with no Baedeker." So, of course, I had to visit this church, which contains the tombs of Michaelangelo, Machievelli, Rossini, Galileo (shown in the photo above) and many others. Todd, being an electrical engineer, was particularly thrilled to see plaques for Marconi and Fermi as well.
I loved the art and architecture in Florence, and our three days there were way too short. I'll have to find a way to return one day!