Before I write about today, I must finish yesterday afternoon. We went to the Uffizzi as Amici degli Uffizzi and got in the special entrance for friends of the Uffizzi. I love the closeup of the woman on our special card, and I couldn’t figure out who painted her. At first I thought Botticelli? Leonardo? No, but then we found her in the gallery. She is the beautiful madonna of The Madonna, Gesu, e due angeli. Here it is:
Anyway, all the paintings were amazing, but after Michelangelo, we were going to leave for awhile since we can come back any time. We couldn’t figure a way out without going through every gallery. We tried an elevator to the 0 floor, and two men, in Italian, told us, “No, No. You have to go back and see Titian, Carravaggio, Bronzino before you leave!” They’ve remodeled the Uffizzi in such a way that you can’t get out until you’ve seen ALL the Italian masters. We will return Thursday for the Pintori Stranieri or foreign painters. And those ingenious Italians made sure we had to walk through several souvenir stores before we could find the Uscita. Last night for dinner we went to Trattoria Labarrusca on Via Pannicale near the Mercato Centrale. It was very real and delicious. Before we had a glass of Super Tuscan and bruschetta at the little Enoteca across the street from our apartment. It really is called Super Tuscan, and it’s delicious.
Now for today. It was absolutely beautiful! Not a cloud in the sky, and it got up to 68 degrees– not windy but a slight breeze. We took the train to Lucca, wandered around the streets, ate lunch in the Anfiteatro. It’s so cool. It’s a central piazza built in the same oval shape as the ancient Roman ampitheater. We saw a field trip of school children.
After pizza fuori (outside) we had to work off our lunch, so we rented bicycles and rode three loops around the medieval city walls. The entire town is ringed with walls, and there’s even a stream which serves as a moat.
An elderly gentleman casually but efficiently took charge of the bike rentals. In the back, I noticed many old photos of bicycle races and asked if he was in any of the photos. He was! The youngest boy in front was our bicycle renter.
Next we needed a new physical challenge, so we climbed the Torre degli Guigni, or the tower of the Guigni family that owned much of the town in the Middle Ages. What I love about this tower are that seven ilex trees grow on the top of the tower for beautiful views.
We are cooking pici and pesto tonight and staying in. Exhausted but happy. Here are three closing photos of Florence. The first of the Arno and the bridge is from this morning on our way to the train station. BTW, no one checked our tickets at any point in our journey. On the other hand, I’ve heard it’s no fun if you’re caught. Plus, we gladly support the punctual and comfortable Italian railways.