Nine Days in Italia – Parte Cinque: The Big Three Oh!

So….this is the day I turned the horrifying age of thirty. No longer could I tentatively claim to be youthful and vibrant and have my whole life left ahead of me to do fun things, I’d reached an age where I had to be a grown up. How terrible. On the plus side it was our first full day in Firenze which is where I had decided if I had to become that age I was going to do it here. Today consisted of a few awesome things; Seeing pretty much every Renaissance piece of art ever made in The Ufizi, having a good wander around the beautiful city, eating a Bistecca Alla Fiorentina the size of my head from the best restaurant we had visited so far (and to think it was practically opposite our front door) and discovering that the bottle of what we thought was very reasonably priced Prosecco was actually an awfully over-priced bottle of Asti, doh.

The day started with me nearly falling flat on my face from the dozen or so “Happy 30th Birthday” balloon’s Jo had woken up in the middle of the night to decorate the apartment with, which was a lovely thought even though it reminded me what an old man I had become in those small hours between going to sleep and waking up. The free WiFi in the apartment also meant I could be constantly reminded of this descent into geriatrics from people at home as well, thanks guys. OK all joking aside it is nice when people say Happy Birthday. I finished off my bowl of “Nice Morning” and we headed down to The Ufizi museum, a fantastic building that was once the palace of the rulers of Florence and later Duke’s of Tuscany. Two things happened here, one terrible and the other great, first was the horribly long queue to get in which although was shaded, was outside and obviously not air conditioned. The second is that you can skip this queue simply by going to the front and buying a ticket for a specific entry time rather than hanging around just trying to gt in when you get to the doors. It’s advertised all around but no one seemed to notice or realise until we were told by someone and then passed on the information Chinese Whispers style. It was around this time that security guard stopped to have a chat with me about my camera, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, shoot film and people want to talk to you because it’s different and interesting. He described my choice of using film as “brave”, until I showed him my back up digital camera as well. After getting our tickets for a set entry time we killed time by taking a walk up to the Ponte Vecchio, the wonderful thing about Firenze is how close the major sights are, the river is at the end of the street where the Palazzo Vecchio and Ufizi are and the Ponte Vecchio is another 2 minute walk from there.

Anyway lets get onto the photographs from today, not too many were taken inside the Ufizi as the ISO of the film was a little too low and there was far too many things to photograph in there. As usual all are taken with my Olympus OM1 using my F.Zuiko 50mm or Vivitar 28mm lenses, the film for today was Agfa Vista Plus 200.

1.jpg The famously over priced playing cards we haggled down to 3 Euro last night. They feel a lot cheaper than that, the photo’s on them are nice however as is the coat of arms design of Firenze.

2.jpg The rather odd collection of books in the bedroom of our apartment, if I had to guess I’d say most people who have stayed and left books here have been both students and from the United States. The “Dirty Italian” book promised more than it delivered unfortunately, and I apologise but I nabbed the copy of Primo Levi’s “Is This a Man/The Truce”, I’ve wanted to read this for a while and it ended up staying in my bag when we left, whoops. (Side note, I would recommend anybody read this if they ever want to gain an insight into the life of an ordinary man caught up in the extraordinary situation of being Jewish during the Second World War).

3.jpg The interior of the apartment block, all 80 odd stairs of it.

4.jpg The Palazzo Vecchio or as it was called when it was slightly newer (Italiano lesson Vecchio means old) The Palazzo Della Signoria, as the Signoria was the name of the ruling council of the Republic of Florence. The Piazza Della Signoria is the name of the square around it, the below bizarre statue of a bloke riding on the back of a turtle was there. As is a large collection of Renaissance statues.

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6.jpg Not the actual David by Michelangelo as the original was moved for safe keeping in the 19th century to the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze. Still bloody impressive though no?

7.jpg A couple of shots of the Ponte Vecchio spanning over the Arno, I really like the reflection of the bridge in the water in these. And yes there is not a cloud in the sky at all, it was sweltering hot, hence why the river looks quite low.

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9.jpg Another couple of images of the Arno, the one above shows the Piazzale Michelangelo in the distance on the hill, we climbed up there the next day to watch the sunset. The below, the Ponte Vecchio again.

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11.jpg The Ufizi, the place for Renaissance artwork, you know because Firenze invented it basically.

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13.jpg The queue we joined after buying tickets for a specific timed entry (above). The queue we could’ve waited all day in if we hadn’t realised you could buy tickets for a timed entry (below)

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15.jpg Julius Caesar, missing his body.

16.jpg Hermes with his bits out and holding a cigar, I presume. Nice hat.

17.jpg You couldn’t even go into this room, I mean obviously just look at the detail of the floor.

18.jpg Taken out of one of the Ufizi windows, looking down towards the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo in the not too far away distance. This is what I mean about the sights being so close to each other.

19.jpg The clock tower on the roof of the Palazzo Vecchio.

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21.jpg If it’s a statue and it’s in Firenze It’s probably of a Medici, that’s what I would guess usually. I’d hazard a guess this is one of the Cosimo’s (probably The Elder) since he was the first de facto Medici ruler of Firenze, and why wouldn’t you build a statue for that reason? Correct me if I’m wrong.

22.jpg Just a beautiful, beautiful place.

23.jpg Ah this is where I thought I’d cracked a tooth, ate a sandwich (a very nice one I’ll give it that) and the bread was so crusty hard it felt like I’d smashed my teeth in. I hadn’t.

24.jpg Oh yeah, this was the view at lunchtime.

25.jpg Finish off with this sot of the Arno looking upstream, the Piazzale Michelangelo is in the distance on the hill to the right, the Ufizi and Palazzo Vecchio would be out of shot to the left and the Ponte Vecchio is right beneath my feet since this is where the image was taken from.

 

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