This morning, after a nice breakfast here at the hotel, we set out on foot for the Accademia Gallery, about 30 minutes away by foot. This gallery houses Michelangelo's "David" - the real thing, 14 feet tall, in all his amazing glory. We got in quickly with our pre-ordered tickets and saw much sculpture here. It is a small gallery (unlike the huge Uffizi) and we had plenty of time to walk leisurely back, stopping to admire the huge Duomo (cathedral) and Baptistery (a separate big building) with the wonderful "Gates of Paradise" huge doors. At one point, near the river, Tom jumped back and said that someone had tried to steal his PacSafe - but it is a Kevlar strap and quite "bulletproof" - yea, PacSafe products! After walking back along the Arno River and seeing the old Ponte Vecchio (spared in WWII bombing by the Germans as they retreated), we had lunch (sandwich and salad!!) and another gelato.
A nice nap followed, despite pounding on the door by an angry maid who wanted to make up our room and chose the ignore our "Do Not Disturb" sign, followed by a phone call from the front desk saying this was our last chance of the day for it! What part of "Do Not Disturb" don't they get (in Italian, no less)?
We had a very good dinner at another nearby restaurant in the cellar of an old palace and got back to the hotel before the rain began in earnest.
We were kind of "sightseed out" but went to the nearby Pitti Palace which has another great collection of paintings, especially by Raphael, Reubens, and Titian (as well as many more). The rain had stopped and the day cleared with a refreshing cool breeze.
We met our Classic Journeys group in the rooftop garden of our hotel. There are 11 people plus our guide, Luciano. An introductory walk through Florence followed, and though we had traveled that route on foot already, we saw it with a fresh perspective from our guide and got inside the Duomo (cathedral). Seems like a nice group of people (as usual). Dinner was at a very different family-style restaurant - not a family restaurant in the American sense, but a loud boisterous place with everyone at long tables, helping themselves as dishes got passed around the table. Many courses and wines were available, and we were all very full as we walked back to our hotel.