Another perfect day in Florence. I was ordering my cappuccino and panne del pescatore (bread of the fisherman) al banco (at the counter where it’s cheaper), and the barista complimented me on my Italian, commenting that it’s a difficult language.
Using our membership cards, Melissa and I toured the Palantine Apartments of the Pitti Palace. Luca Pitti, a rich banker in Florence of the 1400s, began building the Pitti Palace as an affront to the wealthy Medici. Ironically, his heirs ran out of money and had to sell it to the Medici family. The rooms are beautiful with huge chandeliers and painted, vaulted ceilings with bas relief and gold plating. Each room is lined with works by famous artists: Titian, Rubens, Tintoretto, Caravaggio (one of my favorites), Bronzino, Botticelli, Fra Filipo Lippi, and of course Raphael. His most beautiful Madonna with child and John the Baptist, a rondula, is exquisite. Next we strolled through the Boboli gardens again.
Next we crossed the Ponte Vecchio to the Bargello, a medieval building in Florence that has served many purposes, including a one-time prison. I love the open courtyard with stone bas reliefs of medieval crests. We saw Donatello’s bronze statue of David, the first free standing nude sculpture since antiquity. We saw other sculptures, including an early Michelangelo of a drunken Bacchus, and a famous, leaping winged Mercury, copied by FTD Florists. As we were walking back to our apartment, as we were crossing Piazza Della Signoria, a wonderful parade and pageant opened up before us in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, including flag throwers, drummers, and trumpets. I have to say, I love these photos.