We have been in Florence for four days now and will leave tomorrow for Pisa. Florence is undeniably beautiful and the scenery of the Tuscan countryside is exactly how it is described. Funny thing though all of the Tuscan houses seem to have eaves on them, unlike the Tuscan designed houses in Australia. Think we have been sold a pup on that front.
We spent the first two days in the city in the Museums and on the first night went to see Tosca at the Opera. The general story is that some larger lady kills someone to help her lover, he gets killed, she is alone and kills herself and no-one goes home happy. Except us of course because we had excellent seats in the middle of the floor and had a wonderful time.
The Museums here are great, except the lineups outside of course. We waited three hours in the line for the Uffizi gallery (Bottecelli's Birth of Venus and Primavera and Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Raphael and Carravaggio) but once inside it was worth it. Climbed the Duomo nad saw the biggest frescoe in the world. Will explain that in a moment. Saw David in the Galleria Accademia and fought to get a photo without getting sprung by the guards. Got the photo but it is a little blurry, got busted by the guards and got asked to move on now that I had my photo.
The Duomo is eight sided so that it can contain a frescoe called The Last Judgement. Seven sides are reserved for the Seven Deadly Sins and the final side is for Last Judgement. (There will be a photo on the site soon) The fresco has five levels which are from the top: Apostles and Saints, then Beatitudes, People deserved of Heaven like Royalty, Benefactors and the two artists, Ordinary people and then the Inferno. It is magnificent and we had the good fortune of speaking to a guide who gave us the full explanation of The Last Judgement.
Went for a walk in the countryside for the last two days and had a little look at Gallileo and Tchaikovsky's (Sorry on the spelling) house and had a grand walk around the hills. Today the walk took in a small hilltop town called Fiesole and as far as we can tell no one really famous came from here. We were luck to sit in a churce called Convente de San Francisco which is a Franciscan monastary. Inside the church you could hear the friars chanting and it was absolutely haunting. Above you could see the old cells that the Friars used to live in, very austere and barely enough room to self flaggellate with a horse hair whip!
Off to Pisa tomorrow via local train and will only be there for a day before jetting off to Barcelona.
Goddamn gypsies, all bad teeth and long arms. They rove the streets in packs of women of various ages all looking pathetic. I think their husbands are to busy on their next orthodontic patient or physics breakthrough to come down and beg. STOP PRESS: No they weren't, the men were down at the train station drinking heavily
MERV: When you read this tell Ron that we went up to the Space Observtory on a hill South of Florence. There are four telescopes up there, a University and such a wonderful view - he should come.
Take it that we are both well and loving our time so far.
James and Emma (Not pregnant yet - Mum) (Trying very HARD - Dad)