06.02.2020 - 07.02.2020 14 °C
With our stay in Florence drawing to an end and still having many places on our wish list we headed out early. The first stop was the Palazzo Pitti, a grand palace designed by Filippo Brunelleschi In the 15th century for the Pitti family. The Palace was sold to the Medici family in the 16th century and then enlarged. Final additions were added in the 18th century after the palace was purchased by the Lorraine family. One half of the enormous palace displays the historic imperial rooms.
The palace, although heavily renovated throughout history displays grandeur from each time period. Only one room still contains original features from the 15th century, the rest are virtual time capsules of various owners. Most rooms feature frescos that appear three dimensional or panoramic scenery and are based on religious or Roman cultural themes. One room was renovated as Bonaparte’s bathroom and another as King Ferdinand’s throne room. After spending the better part of nearly 2 hours wandering the halls we headed to the other side for the other museums before heading outside.
The costume museum featured clothing dating from the 18th to the 20th centuries, famous costumes worn in movies and theatre. Most interesting for us was the extremely rare 16th century funerary garments worn by Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, his wife Eleanor of Toledo and their young son Garcia. These were excavated in the early 20th century and pieced together. Moving quickly through the display of mostly Roman style shoes over history we headed to the modern museum.
The extensive collection of paintings and sculptures in the modern museum was to some degree over whelming. Most of the collection was from the late 18th century to World War I. The elegant rooms, which were inhabited by the Lorraine grand dukes we almost as interesting as the works on display.
After a light lunch, we headed outside to the Boboli Gardens, that are the expansive gardens behind and beside the palace, developed by the Medici’s. Walking from the palace we headed through the amphitheater the up the hill to a water fountain. From the top there is an excellent view over the palace and Florence. More stairs lead to the top where there was a rose garden, maze and porcelain museum. We skipped the museum and spent time looking at the view and the steep ramparts apparently designed by Michelangelo.
Our final full day in Florence saw us start the day trying to access the Duomo, with the large lines we headed department store shopping at Coin and headed back to the Duomo at lunchtime when the line was much smaller. The building is impressive both in height and magnitude. The painting on the cupola over the altar was the highlight in what is an austere environment in comparison to other churches. You can also pay to climb the bell tower, the cupola and access to the archeological component and museum. If visiting the church pay a visit to the shop to see the crypt of Brunelleschi, the cupola architectural master who subsequently destroyed the equipment used to build the spectacular dome.
For the afternoon, we took part in the Italian promenade and enjoyed walking by the Arno, across the Ponte Vecchio and dropping into Santa Felicita, the second oldest church in the city also designwhere the Varsari corridor passes through. Our interest was also saying a prayer for family members, here and departed, due to the passing of a family member on 7 February. The sun was setting as we then made our way to Piazza Santa Spirito and the church of the same name. The church of Santa Spirito was designed by Brunelleschi and houses many family private chapels adorned with artwork, along with an early piece of work by Michelangelo. The church and piazza reflect life, a place where locals and tourists merge.
As the light was fading we headed back over the Ponte Santa Trinità, as the truly magical colours blend sky and scenery.