Our final day in italy dawned with me very excited, as this would be the day we would see the Uffizi Gallery. This is one of the most important art museums in the world. Some highlights are Duccio, Cimabue, and Gitto’s ”Madonna Enthroned”, some lesser known works of Dürer, some Rembrant self portraits, daVinci’s “Annunciation” the image you may know from the cover of your AP European History Textbook: Bronzino’s “Portrait of Eleanor of Toledo and Her Son”, Michelangelo’s “Doni Tondo”, Verrocio’s “The Baptism of Christ”, The Wrestlers, Parmigianino’s Madonna with the Long Neck and Gentileschi’s “Judith Beheading Holofernes” But what the museum is most notable for is the works of 2 artists Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”, and Caravaggio’s Bacchus and Medusa. There is so much more but that is about a quick of an overview as I can do. We arrived to the at 10 and left around 1 making only the most cursory viewing of everything, and with me attempting to act as a tour guide all along the way. My sister found a new favorite painting, it is called the “Portrait of the Dwarf Morgante” from the Bronzino room. It was fascinating to see all the works that I had studied in art history! Mrs. Crawford, my art history teacher, would have smiled seeing me so excited over old canvases.
After the Uffizi we returned to the market from yesterday because my sister wanted to buy an Italian ring, but not something super expensive. So we made the 20 minute or so walk down and look around until she found just what she wanted. By this time however, all our legs were getting mighty sore from walking all day, mine particularly, but there were things we still wanted to see so we continued on.
Next stop was the Basilica of Santa Croce, this is an absolutely beautiful church with amazing art where Dante, Galileo, Ghiberti, Machiavelli, and Michelangelo are buried to name a few. We stayed here a while admiring the monuments to the different historical figures and then were on our way to the Duomo or Florence Cathedral, here we saw Ghiberti’s baptistry doors and entered the massive church.
After this we wanted to get some snacks for the airplane the next day so we walked across the Ponte Vecchio to grab some things to keep us full as we traveled. Just as we were leaving the grocery store laden with snacks it began to rain, and it rained harder and harder and harder until all of a sudden I was caught in another torrential downpour and soaked through. My jeans and shirt clung to my legs in wet folds, the umbrella had been no shield of protection from the rain which had flown sideways at us.
Thankfully we were not far from the hotel and could get inside soon, drenched and dripping we took the elevator up to our room to change and decide on a place for dinner.
After quite a to-do picking different place s and checking them out online against price range and quality we eventually landed on Ciro and Sons, it is a blend of upscale and fun dining we ordered a few dishes and all shared them, pasta bolognese for Katey, lasagna for dad, and pesto fettucini for me, we all had a little bit of everyone else’s, fortunately for me, no one really liked mine best but I loved it, so I got most of it to myself.
After dinner we walked back toward the Duomo for some gelato, we had heard that the best in Florence was a place called GROM (you like I may find that name familar, that’s because there are locations in the New York, in Greenwich Village just off Bleecker street is where I had seen it before. If you have not been to GROM before, the next time you are in New York City please do me a favor and treat your taste buds to the sensation they deserve and go to one of their three locations. I had a medium cone with three flavors Strawberry, Creme de Grom, and Nougat.
In the Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis tells of a time when Lucy reads a story on the Island of the Magician Coriarken in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader which she cannot remember by the time she is finished reading it, but is so wonderful that whenever she hears a story later in life which she calls “good” it is one which reminds her of that story she read in Narnia. I have a similar experience with strawberry ice creme, there is place which once existed in charlotte called Lollicups which had the best strawberry smoothie I had ever tasted in my life. When I taste a strawberry which reminds me of that long forgotten Lollicups taste it is what I call good. This strawberry did. Thus GROM is amazing. But the nougat and the creme de grom were also very good!
We walked down the still wet cobblestone street of Florence savoring the final moments of Italian air (Sidebar: in the city this was filled with smoke and pollution) Eventually returning back to the hotel to put the finishing touches on packing and go to sleep.