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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.

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October 15, 2014

Climbing the Palazzo Vecchio Tower

Before I get started on Tuesday's outing, I wanted to post this photo that I forgot in my last post.  We walked down to the train station area where the Chiesa Santa Maria Novella is located to visit that.  We ended up not able to go inside but Chris took a bunch of pictures out front and I took a couple.  I wanted to post this close-up of the front facade because the marble inlay work is pretty fantastic I think.  If you're interested at all, enlarge the picture to get a better idea of how beautiful it is.

We decided that on Tuesday we would get up bright and early and get to the Palazzo Vecchio as close to opening time as possible so we might still have some cool weather.  The weather had cooperated with us again by raining heavily during the night and although it was still raining some when we woke up, by the time we were ready to start walking, it was done and the day cleared up into another beautiful one.

The Palazzo Vecchio is located in the Piazza della Signoria which has a famous fountain with a huge statue of Neptune, and a copy of the very famous statue of David by Michaelangelo along with a couple of other pieces of statuary. Here's a pic of the Palazzo in the early morning light along with one of some of David - Chris had seen a photo that showed David's head against the blue and gold decoration above the door of the Palazzo and we both liked it so we both copied the idea.

The Palazzo is a fairly plain building although quite large.  It was home to the Medicis at one point in their history, but was also a municipal building and something of a fortress.

David is a huge statue - I would guess at least twice life sized, maybe more.  He is also very naked!

On my last visit to Florence I had gone into the Palazzo Vecchio and seen the first floor but had not felt like paying yet another museum fee (it was near the end of that trip) to see the museum nor did I even think about climbing the tower.  But with Chris having climbed the Duomo and now planning to climb the tower, I felt I had to show I could still manage a climb too, so in we went.We decided we would do the climb first so we wouldn't be all tired out from wandering through the museum before climbing.  I took a lot of pictures, many of which were of the Duomo because at the various places you could see out on the way up, the view of the Duomo just became more and more stunning.  So here they are pretty much one after another. 

 WOW!!!  I always wanted a view like this but there was always a crane and plus I was always across the river looking down at it.
We came to a very much appreciated landing that was called the battlements which I guess would have been where they fought off invaders if they got really close  I think maybe we were in the area with the long-ish looking openings in the photo below although I'm not sure. 

 This was a loggia type area - the picture shows mostly the rafters which had the original painted decoration on them.  The room is below and was open to the breezes.  We looked down into it.
 And these were holes in the floor spaced evenly around the battlements.  They're covered now with thick glass which is pretty dirty but in that middle row what you see are people walking around the outside of the building at street level.  We think probably these would have been used as a defense mechanism.  I'm pretty sure I remember reading that the building never did have to withstand an attack but they were prepared.

This is looking across the river into the Boboli Gardens.  This was called the Kaffeehaus and was used by the Medicis for a refreshing pause in their rambles through the gardens. I think the sky must have turned pink when I tried to get the color of the building close to the pretty soft green color it is.
 Santa Croce seen from the battlements.  We're to go here after we finish with the Palazzo.  At this point we had reached the highest landing - as far as we were allowed to go.  The views were fantastic, of course.
 The lovely San Miniato way up on its hill,
 and again wow!
I took this partly because of the writing on the huge overhead beam but also cause I liked the pigeon peering over the edge.

As I say, we weren't allowed to go any higher, but back in the day, others could, using these stairs winding around this massive pillar.  I was just as glad we weren't allowed up there!

And I'm going to go ahead and post this and put up the pictures from the museum tomorrow.  It's after midnight, I'm almost all packed for my flight to Sicily tomorrow and I should get some sleep.  My plane doesn't leave until around 5:00 so I hope to do some catching up on the blog cause Tuesday was a favorite day and today was also.

Stay tuned...


Diane Adams said...

These pics are all so awesome!!! Don't think I'd have the stamina to climb that high.

Chinch said...

Glad Chris was there to get you up in the tower because WOW what a view of your Duomo! And I guess by the time you get this, you'll be on your way to Sicily and I hope that goes smoothly. Will feel pretty lonely I imagine but at least all the sights will be brand new. And Chris, if you're reading this, I'm expecting some real stunners when you start posting your photos. Good travels to you both. xoxo

January said...

Oh my gosh, Mama - give all my respect to your calves! :) I bet any aches you're feeling are totally worth getting that gorgeous view of the Duomo - that last photo of it could be a post card! I can't wait to see the museum photos - I've heard so much about that place, that I'm eager for your mini-tour. Safe travels to Sicily.

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