On the morning of the 27th, we slept a little later than normal and got up around 10. We then headed out towards the Uffizi Gallery where we had reservations at 11:45. On the way, we stopped for breakfast and then decided to walk a slightly more circuitous route to the Uffizi so we could see more of the city. We ended up walking down Via Dei Pucci, around the back side of the Duomo, down Via del Proconsolo by the Bargello Museum and Badia Fiorentina before walking into the Piazza della Signoria.
We looked around the Piazza della Signoria for a while before heading into the courtyard of the Uffizi. We picked up our tickets for both the Accademia and the Uffizi at the same time and then went and entered the line. I would highly recommend getting tickets in advance because we didn’t have to wait in line at all to get into the museum.
Once in the museum, we spent about three and a half hours touring the entire gallery. The Uffizi is home to a number of important pieces, and our favorites were Botticelli‘s Primavera and Birth of Venus as well as the extensive exhibition on the mind of Leonardo da Vinci. The Botticelli rooms were particularly impressive because the scale of the paintings is so much larger than you imagine them in pictures. There were also a number of pre-Renaissance pieces from churches in Tuscany that were very beautiful but tended to run together because they were all so similar.
After leaving the Uffizi, we went back out into the Piazza della Signoria. We spent about half an hour looking at all of the statues in the Piazza della Signoria. The original location of Michelangelo’s David is right in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, and a marble copy stands there now. We found the small engraving of Savonarola on the side of the Palazzo Vecchio that is rumored to have been carved by Michelangelo behind his back as Savonarola was being led to be burned at the stake. We also walked through the Loggia dei Lanzi which contains a number of famous statues. Our favorites were the Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna and the Rape of Polyxena by Pio Fedi. We also were impressed by Cellini’s Perseus.
After leaving the Piazza della Signoria, we headed over to the Galleria dell’Accademia where we had tickets for 4:30. We spent a while looking through the exhibition on the work of Lorenzo Monaco and then continued on to the more famous exhibitions in the museum. The corridor leading to Michelangelo’s David is lined with a number of Michelangelo’s unfinished marble statues known collectively as “The Slaves.” These were some of our favorite statues because of the power evoked in the slaves attempting to break free from the marble. There was also an unfinished version of Michelangelo’s Pieta in this corridor.
Obviously, the highlight of the Galleria dell’Accademia is Michelangelo’s David. The statue is much more impressive in person as it is 17 feet tall. We were highly amuzed by the museum attendant who was charged with keeping people from taking photos. He clearly didn’t care if people photographed the statue and only bothered to shout out the occasional “No Photo!” when a supervisor came by. The David was truly impressive and we sat and admired it for quite a while before moving on into the gallery of plaster casts and then to the exhibition of Russian Orthodox icons before leaving the museum.
On the way back toward our hotel, we stopped in the Mercato di San Lorenzo again to look for leather jackets for both of us. We managed to find a really nice one for me and got a great deal on it. We then went back to the hotel and deposited all of our stuff before heading out to dinner.
We had dinner at a wonderful little restaurant near Santa Maria Novella called Osteria delle Belle Donne. We had some phenomenal food there while chatting with a very friendly group from Portugal. We then walked back to our hotel and called it a night.