We lucked out today with no rain at all and now probably about 30 minutes ago, we started noticing lightning through our windows and we're hearing some good rumbles of thunder. Would be great if it did all of its raining at night but we have plenty of inside places we can visit on rainy days and we both have umbrellas so we'll get by. We had one disappointment today - went to get our tickets for the Duomo (which includes going up to the top of the dome, touring the cathedral, the baptistery, going up the campanile, and visiting the museum. All well and good and the ticket is good for 24 hours after you first use it so we figured we could do a climb first maybe towards evening and then the next day visit the duomo, baptistery and museum. Unfortunately, the museum is closed for repairs or some such until November. Seems like a lot of stuff is closed or at least has the printed sheeting they put around sections of buildings they're working on.. So for today, we didn't use the tickets at all and now I've lost mine.
But we walked a lot, saw a lot, photographed a lot (me not so much but some), had a nice lunch at the same cafe near our hotel as yesterday and a delicious gelato later in the day. Since I've been to Florence twice now and reported extensively on all that I did (as my faithful but weary readers can attest) I'm not going to comment as much as usual just share some photos and any little observations.
So, here's what caught my eye today...
After quite a lot of wandering around the duomo area, we walked to the Piazza della Republica where we were going to see the della robia plaques on the front of the Hospedale degli Innocenti - a hospital founded in 1419 to take care of abandoned infants and children. The building was designed and built by Brunelleschi who also designed and built the Duomo. It's quite simple but lovely - very peaceful in the inner courtyard pictured on the right. The picture on the left is on the opposite side of the square and is not part of the Hospedale but was built to tie in with the design and size of the Hospedale.
On the left is as close-up as I could get of one of the patterns used in the decoration of the interior courtyard. I said to Chris I wondered what it was cause it looked to me sort of like a lobster. He told me it was a babe in swaddling cloths and, of course, he was right. But it does have a slight lobster-ish look to it.The little fellow on the right was just so cute and happy, He and his older brother and mom and dad had been chasing each other around the courtyard playing keep-away soccer I guess you'd call it. And this little guy chased after them with such eagerness and joy it was a delight to see. He was definitely an "innocenti" who has been loved since his arrival in the world. The picture below shows where abandoned babies were given in to the "institute". Believe it or not, apparently they were put through the grate that you can just barely see in the photo. The grate was there to keep people from abandoning older and larger children through the square opening. So I learned a fair amount about the place where a few years ago I had taken pictures of the della robia plaques on the outside walls, but Chris didn't get to see that because it was all behind construction cloths.
Here's a view of the Duomo looking out from the Piazza della Republica. Just thought I'd include it in case you were missing seeing the Duomo! :)
We were slowly wending our way down to the Arno River with a stop at the Palazzo Ponte Vecchio where I took a bunch of pictures of what I thought was an old map of Florence only to have Chris tell me it had Austria in the Latin inscription at the bottom. So I'm not posting it here.
I took the next picture because I liked all stuff going on - the bulgy iron window grates, the bright yellow wall, the big lantern-type lamp - even t red sign. Just made a happy picture I thought.
The one on the right was just a juxtaposition of various buildings that I noticed while waiting for Chris and also liked.
And here we are at the Ponte Vecchio bridge getting ready to forge our way through the crowds and gawk at all the jewelry. I volunteered to take a picture of a family of four who were trying to take turns taking pictures of each other and they took a picture of Chris and me.
Did I say at the beginning that I can't believe the crowds in Florence? Cause I can't. It's been crowded each time I've been here but nothing like it was today. The line to climb the Duomo wound from the side door entrance about halfway around the back of the building! That many people were waiting to climb 400-some stairs! And arriving at the really popular piazzas like the Duoma and the Ponte Vecchio (with the Uffizi Gallery right next door), it was just masses of people - unbelievable really. Maybe I'll have to start visiting in November.
And these last two are just because I love the beautiful things Italians create - particularly baby and children's clothing.
Well, as usual, I've run on and on with my "little observations"! The rain and thunder have stopped now - I kind of wish it was still raining just cause it sounded so neat on the roof. Not sure what tomorrow will bring or what the weather will be, but hopefully we'll enjoy day 3.