Sunday, July 01, 2018

Florence, The David and Church

We woke up bright and early to walk down to the city center and get in line to see The David, Michelangelo's most famous sculpture.  The museum was built around it and includes other statues and paintings by various artists.  Additional statues by Michelangelo are featured.
A close up to keep this blog's G rating.

The museum also had the very first Stradivarius  violin, according to our guide, on loan from the Medici family.

Afterwards we walked to a small International church for Sunday service.  So fun to meet other Christians!  About half the church was tourists.
It was a very small room and it contrasted so much with the opulence of some of the churches we have seen on this trip.  I wondered if the early church met in small rooms like this.  Maybe - maybe not.
Lunch at an outdoor cafe--love them!  So fun!
We got a gelato in an unsuccessful attempt to cool off.  It was in the 90's and let's just say...Europeans need to learn how to use air conditioning.  First they leave all the shop doors wide open and then they must have the thermostat set on 85.  Ugh.  It's only 5 degrees better than outside in every shop.
So cute!
Next, my mom wanted to take me to see the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge that she and my dad had seen years ago.  My dad was a history buff and loved the story of how the bridge was saved during the Nazi occupation in WW2.  A German consul stationed in Florence had written letters to the German Ambassador to Italy asking to him to try ask Hitler to protect Florence from destruction.  Hitler had loved Florence on an earlier trip so agreed to keep as much of the city intact as possible.  However, when the Allies were approaching, it was decided that all the bridges had to be blown up.  Here the story takes on several theories.  One is that Hitler himself decided to save the bridge.  Another is that the Germans always left one bridge to try to ambush the Allies when they crossed it.  And still another theory was that American tanks were too large to cross the Ponte Vecchio anyway so there was no need to blow it up.  These theories all have some merit and the truth is probably a mix of the three.  The bridge was originally built in 996 and destroyed twice by floods but the current structure has been there since 1333! It is also known for having shops built on the bridge.  The back shops have been there since the 17th century.  They were originally butcher shops but are now mainly jewelry and watches.

Since my dad loved this bridge we asked someone to take a picture of us in front of it.
We walked around Florence all afternoon, shopping and sweating.
Incredible street art
Since had already eaten gelato, we couldn't have these but mmmmm.....they looked amazing.

Good-bye Florence!
Tomorrow we go to Pisa, Verona and end up in Venice.

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