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2019-PLEASE NOTE: Since Google has stopped Open ID comments, I've been receiving Anonymous comments that don't SEEM like spam. If you DO comment on a post, please don't be disappointed if I don't post it. 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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November 28, 2017

Sunday finds us in Florence...

But before it finds us, here are 3 last photos from our last day (Saturday) in Venice on our last walk to the water bus.  The first one is one window of a pet shop we passed with a sleepy cat looking very cozy,  lucky thing.  The second is the other window of the pet shop which just looked so cheery I thought a picture of it would be fun.

The third one is the Rialto Bridge - it's the widest bridge in Venice and is lined with markets and is the most well-known.  Another claim to fame for this area is that it is the place that the first settlement of what would become Venice.  I took the photo from the water bus and was pleased that I had such a clear shot at it.

It's Tuesday afternoon right now and so far, we've been pretty lucky with the weather.  Too cold but just a little sprinkle a couple of times so it could be worse.  But it was 32 this morning and that's just a bit much.  At this rate, I'll have to come home with a new winter coat!

But back to our first full day - Sunday.  Chris was eager to see the Pitti Palace and I had already visited it in sections on a couple of my earlier visits, so I was happy to stay in and have a leisurely morning.  When he got back we got a bite of lunch and made our way the "Grande Museo del Duomo".  I had also visited this in the past but when Chris and I were here in 2014 and we went to see it, it was closed and for a lengthy time as they were remodeling, upgrading, etc.  So now it was open again and I wanted to see it too.  On our walk there, I took the required photo of the Ponte Vecchio bridge (below) and then we walked down to it and across it.

Got to the museum and the first thing we saw on entering was this LEGO duomo with the bell tower and the baptistery.  I love seeing actual buildings made out of Legos.  That city scene in the Columbus, OH museum last Thanksgiving is still a favorite memory.
They really put a lot of thought and work into the remodeling - the building is filled with light, filled with treasures (not necessarily all gold and jewels - they have apparently all the models, paperwork, anything and everything that had to do with building the duomo, the baptistery and the bell tower.  And they have the full original of the gold doors which were unavailable when I visited before so it was wonderful to see them without the throngs of people that stand outside the baptistery doors which are copies.  Just as beautiful, but really difficult to contemplate out in the crowds.  The photo below is of the real ones now complete in the museum.

They had lots of "scraps" of architectural details from the complex, I imagine because pieces became damaged, they decided on replacing some ornamentation with new ornamentation, they needed the wall or floor space for something else...I don't really know and didn't see anything relating to that.  But since it is the Duomo museum, I'm assuming it all pertains to the Duomo complex.

Below is the Penitent Mary Magdalene by Donatello and completed in 1453!!  I find that amazing - #1 because it has such a modern appearance (at least to me) and also because it is a wooden sculpture and has survived for almost 700 years.  One of the new things in the museum are touchable statues so that the vision impaired visitors can "see" them.  This is one of the ones that has a "touch me" double.  I saw this on one of my prior visits and I feel like it was in a different museum.  At some point I want to look and see if I'm right.  Probably not. :)

A very expressive pieta I thought.  The sign said that the male figure is Nicodemus but it didn't mention who the little boy is.
Who in the world knows what this weird looking thing is.  We wondered if it was maybe like the gargoyles they put on buildings (cathedrals especially) as rainspouts but Chris didn't think that was probably right.

These two pictures are the two sides of what might be a door to a tabernacle or some other container for oils or other liquids used during a service.  It's a lovely little thing.

I like the inscribing on the plainer side and have included a small section of that below.

These are models of the plaques that are ornamentation on the bell tower.  The museum has them all on a wall and they are all labeled as to what they represent.  I loved the one above which is Noah having discovered wine making and now feeling the effects.  I wondered if perhaps he is saying "what hath God wrought?" (tee hee)
 I like this one too but have no idea what it represents. :(
 And it wasn't all ancient artifacts and slabs of stone.  There were several "treasure" rooms.  In one of them was this box made entirely of silver and gold.  Brilliantly beautiful of course, but why was it made and to whom was it given and was he worthy of such treasure?
I think this guy is feeling a little "saucy".
 This is just one of the many models of proposed facades for the cathedral.  Actually, it went through a couple of different facades before it ended up as it is today.  But there were more than a couple of facade models.  Glad they didn't choose this one.
 The pictures above and below I am assuming are a particular type of vestment for priests or cardinals (or maybe the pope).  They were displayed in a triangular shape (the photos weren't good in various areas so I cropped out all but the best part of each) and look like they might lay over the shoulders and maybe fall to mid-back or below.  At any rate, they are beautifully embroidered so I thought the needle working wizards on my petitpointers group might enjoy seeing them.

And a wonderful surprise greeted us when we opened the door to what we thought was the last room on the tour.  We were on a rooftop terrace and the sun was gone but you could still see a bit of pink clouds and the "in your face" duomo.  What a great end to the visit.  My picture doesn't do it justice but it will do for my beautiful memory album.
 On the way home, I saw this window and thought it was pretty delightful.
We got back to the hotel, got rid of camera gear, etc., and then went out for pizza to a place the young man at the hotel recommended.  He said it was the best pizza in Florence and I can't confirm that because I think maybe it's the first time I've ever had pizza in Florence, but, boy oh boy, it sure was good - wood-fired oven, thrown together and finished in about 2 minutes, obviously quality ingredients, and cheap!!!  That's my kind of pizza.

That's pretty much it.  I worked on the blog - always seeming to stay 2 days behind, played my iPad games and went to bed.

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