And, I'm saying to myself "I think I can, I think I can..." because I want to get Monday's and today (Tuesday's) blog posted tonight so I'm not posting one after I leave Italy. That would be kind of anti-climatic, right?
I had my little yogurt and banana breakfast in my room which was a very nice change, got myself cleaned up and fiddled on the computer for a while and by the time I left the hotel for my day's outing, it was late enough that I could stop at my little place for a pot of tea and a very tiny treat. :)
My plan was to go to Mercato Centrale and do my grocery shopping and then go to the Medici Chapel which I had not done last year (they were either closed, had long lines, or towards the end of my trip when they weren't closed and there wasn't much line, I went to go in, saw the "no pictures" sign and decided to heck with it because by then I was really tired of that. So I thought I would try again this year, still knowing I couldn't take pictures, but not having spent the last two weeks being told that everywhere I went!
But, the first stop was Mercato Centrale and I just truly can't imagine what it's like to live here and have that as a place to buy food. To be emphatic...IT. IS. UNBELIEVABLE!!! And, of course, all over Italy, on a smaller scale, this is how the people are able to shop - at these markets where everything is fresh and real, and the butchers cut meat, and the fishmongers clean and filet fish, and there is every kind of cheese imaginable and fresh bread and, and, and. I love it!!! I made my take-home purchases, wishing we were allowed to bring porcini mushrooms home cause this is their season and they're everywhere. And then I took these pictures which are mostly from standing in one place and pointing my camera different directions - and the building is probably about the size of a city block - maybe only half a block square, but very big.
Then I had to go back to the hotel cause I couldn't carry my sacks of stuff around with me all day and by the time I was done with that, it would be time to try out that little wine bar place I had seen yesterday. By the time I left the hotel it was sprinkling hard enough to need an umbrella and not really raining which was nice. And, of course, umbrella or no, I was compelled to take pictures here and there along the way...
There's a chain store that I saw in Perugia, Bologna and now Florence and this is their current window display and I can't figure out why - they sell clothes. But I thought my miniaturist friends might get a kick out of it - it's a surprise to see it in amongst all the high-fashion window arrangements.
Then I finally reached the little place and fortunately there weren't many people there today, I suppose because of the weather, because once you buy your sandwich and drink, you just have to stand around and eat it or find a stair to sit on or whatever. Of course, if you worked in the area, I suppose you could take it back to work with you (not the wine, they actually serve it in glass glasses!) So I got a porchetta (roast pork) sandwich on delicious, hot, crusty bread and a small glass of Chianti. Found a little door step that was protected and sat on that to eat and oh, boy it was good! I sure wish I had known about this place last year. Because even trying to keep food costs low, but liking my glass of wine with lunch, both last year and this I really was never able to spend much less than 9E for lunch which is way more than lunch should cost. But this delicious little lunch cost 4E. And here's a picture of it - it truly is a "hole in the wall" - instead of a door or window or anything it's just open to the sidewalk with a counter all the way across - you go place your order, they make it in two minutes flat and you wander off to eat. Fantastic!
While in the area, I did take a picture of the duomo since I just happened to be passing. :)
And that's all the pictures because after that I went to the Medici Chapel and I ended up wishing I had just stayed mad at them from last year. They were open, there was no line so I went in and the price this year was 9E and then another 2E because they were having a special exhibit (which all the museums in Florence are always having special exhibits and so the price is always more than just the entry price. So 11E to get in. I asked her if there was anything in English that would help me know what I was looking at and gee, no there wasn't, but I could get an audio guide for 5E. I thought about that, but then thought well, if there was a not too expensive booklet type thing I could get that and then not only know what I was looking at but have pictures to take home with me (since it still is and always will be no pictures). So, not being too happy with the whole thing and thinking it better be pretty spectacular, in I went. Went to the gift shop and there was a book which she said yes, would explain what was in the chapel. It was eight Euro, but, again, I thought well, I'll have some pictures. So we're now up to 17E to see this place. But even if I had just bought the guide, it still would have been 13E. (And, love Florence or not, I have to say both Perugia and Bologna totally, TOTALLY outshine Florence on this issue - very low entry fees (or none), and most places allowing photos - not all but a majority I'd say.)
The special exhibit was on the ground floor and was all connected to when Maria de Medicis (of the Florentine Medicis) married King Henry IV of France, whom I just finished reading about and who seems to be pretty highly regarded in history. The exhibit was attractive and actually had English explanations along with the Italian which was nice and so was easily worth the 2E. But...moving on to the chapel, I was really put out (although strangely, not surprised) to find that the actual chapel is undergoing some kind of restoration which involves lots of scaffolding up high and down low, is the rest of the exhibit about King Henry IV with I forget how many but lots of very large paintings of his various exploits, I guess. I don't really know because I was so ticked off at the whole thing, I didn't look at the paintings - they weren't even in color! :) They had been painted especially for the wedding (or maybe for King Henry's funeral?) and were monochromatic. So, basically pretty much everything in the chapel was behind something - either scaffolding or huge pictures standing all around the floor. The dome was beautiful...sorry I can't show you a picture. And that was that - 17E for basically nothing. If I had thought anyone there could speak enough English to understand me, I really think I would have been hard pressed not to tell them that I think it would be at least courteous to say that the chapel at present is undergoing renovations and is not "at it's best". So it's probably just as well that they didn't speak real good English and I couldn't speak any Italian! :) So, to use a favorite phrase - WRITE IT DOWN!! That's it for me and the Medici Chapel!
It had been such a chilly, damp and drizzly day that I decided to go to a little trattoria on my street whose menu mentioned they had ribollita. So that's what I had for dinner, along with a nice mixed salad and that made a real comforting meal.
And I don't think I have anything else to report - I did a little shopping and looking in shops here and there throughout the day, but nothing earth-shattering.
- Mary Lynne
- West Virginia
- When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!
P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).
I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.