Art, Italy, Museums, Travel

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

August 17, 2016

There is More to Florence Museums than the DavidDon’t get me wrong, seeing the David in person is a wonderful experience and you should definitely see it. But there are over 72 museums (including churches and libraries) in Florence to explore! If you saw two a day, it would take you over a month to see them all. Since I only spent four days in Florence, I saw as many as I could. It was hard because around every corner it seemed like there was another one. Here are the ones I hit and the ones I want to see when I return (planning is in the works!).

Museums Visited

Palazzo Vecchio – This museum isn’t just a museum. The mayor of Florence’s office is located here, and it is the seat of the City Council. Sign me up to run for local office if this is my office! The museum starts before you even enter the building in the with a replica statue of the David out front. The beautiful decorations begin in the first courtyard with its beautiful frescos. Unfortunately, I didn’t know you could tour the secret passages. I did get to see someone go through a hidden door in the Map Room.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museo Galileo – Walking down the Arno Riverbank towards the Ponte Vecchio, you can’t help but see the Museo Galileo due to the large sundial out front. I will say I was disappointed by this museum. This was mainly because I was expecting more on Galileo himself, but it is mostly a collection of scientific instruments. Many of them were very intriguing, but the labels only gave a title of the item and not what it was used for. Not the ideal for a non-science person. But if you are a science person, then this is the place for you! There must have been thousands of pieces on exhibit.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museo Gucci – This was the only museum I went to that you couldn’t get into with the Firenze Card, which is a 72-hour pass for most of the museums in Florence. The Gucci Museum takes you on a tour of the brand from the beginning of the label through its current designs for the red carpet. The only unfortunate thing is that you cannot take photos inside, but their website has great photos of the exhibition rooms.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Uffizi Gallery – Beautiful architecture abounds in Florence and Uffizi Gallery is no exception. I would have gone in just to see the inside! However, everywhere you look there is art. Look up because much of it is on the ceiling. Also, look out the windows to see great views of Florence, including the Ponte Vecchio. Allow yourself a few hours as there is a lot to see and lots of people also trying to see it.

Palazzo Pitti – Looking more like a formidable fort than a palace, Palazzo Pitti is a huge museum now. The original building was started in 1458 by Luca Pitti, a banker. There are several museums inside the Pitti, and you can also get a ticket for the Boboli Gardens there. Bring your walking shoes as the Pitti is huge!

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museo dell’Opera del Duomo – This magnificent museum has been renovated. Did you love the outside of the Duomo and the Baptistry? Then you will love this place because it features the original decoration and the gold doors of the Baptistry. Didn’t know you were looking at replicas? Sorry to burst your bubble. However, you can get much closer to the carvings and figures in this museum. The attached coffee shop is a great place to rest after seeing the Duomo and the museum.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo – The ultimate shoe lover’s museum. While the museum is small, it is dark and moody just like fashion. There are several decades of Ferragamo shoes on exhibit and foot molds of famous people. The museum was running a temporary exhibition at the time that featured some famous clothing designers as well. They do let you take photos, and there is free wifi, which is good because it’s in the basement with no signal.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Accademia Gallery – As I stated early, you still need to see the David while in Florence. Get the pass or buy your tickets in advance. Even with an advanced ticket, I had to wait in line for a bit. Be prepared for crowds inside. Do not go on the first Sunday of the month, as admission is free and the line will be even longer.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Medici Chapel – The chapel screams opulence that the Medicis family is known for. The Cappella dei Principi is an array of marble and stones of every known color. However, you wouldn’t know it from the outside as it looks like an abandoned building from the outside.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museum Wish List

With 72 museums and counting, it will take me years of visits to Florence to see them all. However, I am already stalking the ones I didn’t get to visit.

Museo Nazionale del Bargello – The building called to me every time I walked past it, but I was already on a set path for the day. I didn’t even know what was in it until I looked up when I returned home. The main collection consists mostly of sculptures. Sculpture doesn’t attract me much, but it was once a prison, and that is worth seeing.

Basilica of Santa Croce -My white whale! Every time I tried to visit, it was closed. That is the bad planner in me and the fact that a historic football game was being played both weekends. Having read about the Basilica in the book “Dark Water,” which explores the floods of Florence, I knew I needed to visit it. Better planning will allow me to capture her next time!

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Vasari Corridor – The mysterious walkway from the Uffizi to the Palazzo Pitti. It tempted me from the Uffizi and heckled me from above on the Ponte Vecchio. Now, I know I can actually walk it. You have to book a private tour to see it, though.

There is More to Florence Museums than the David

Museo del Bigallo – Located in the same Piazza as the Palazzo Vecchio, this was another building that intrigued me. Not only that but the sign said free. Learning more about it, there are some stunning frescos inside that I will inspect next time.

I have intentionally kept the wish list small as I love the art of discovery while traveling. This leaves me room to stumble upon a place and truly enjoy it without expectations.

What museums in Florence are your favorites? Share with us in the comments.

Europe, Italy, Travel

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

August 3, 2016

In last week’s post, I talked about the Infiorata that takes place in Italy during the summer. One photo didn’t seem to do the flower festival justice. These photos are from the Infiorata in Alviano and San Gemini, Italy. Hope you enjoy!

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

The Infiorata: Photo Essa

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

The Infiorata: Photo Essay

Europe, Italy, Travel

7 Unique Italian Things to do During a Summer Visit to Italy

July 27, 2016

7 Unique Italian Things to do During a Summer Visit to ItalyMy trip to Italy this year was my third time and every time I go, I fall in love a little bit more. This was my second summer in Italy, and I have discovered that summer in Italy brings some unique things to do! While a few of things are enjoyable all year in Italy, the summer season makes them extra special. So here is my list of fun activities to do and things to eat in Italy in the summer.

1. See the Infiorata in Umbria  – Every summer in late May or early June towns all over Italy holds an Infiorata, which means literally “to decorate with flowers.” Depending on where you are in Italy, the Infiorata happens at different times. When I was there, it was to mark Corpus Domini. It was happening in both the towns I was visiting, Alviano and San Gemini the first weekend. The artists plan their designs in advance and then the day before mark the outline with chalk. Then starting very early in the morning they start the decorating. I managed to get myself out of bed to see them in the process of decorating in Alviano at about 4 am. In some towns, it is a competition. In Alviano, they were made with sawdust, flowers, sugar and coffee. In San Gemini, I saw flowers, spices, sugar, and coffee. Some of them smelled amazing! Here is an article on some of the best towns to see Infiorata in Italy.

7 Unique Italian Things to do During a Summer Visit to Italy

2. See the Sunflowers in Bloom in Tuscany– The girasole, Italian for sunflower, bloom from late June through August. When I was there last summer in the middle of July, they were everywhere. I was driving and could see them from the highway. A few times I was driving along the back roads, and you could have gotten out of the car and walked through them. To get up close, you do need a car and an adventurous spirit to venture off the beaten path. However, getting up close is totally worth it!

7 Unique Italian Things to do During a Summer Visit to Italy

3. Have an Aperol Spritz In Venice – Sitting in the Piazza San Marco in Venice may seem like a very touristy thing to do, but it was one of the best things I did in there. Venice in July is hot and humid, and you will be dripping with sweat by the happy hour. Pick the shady side of the Piazza and sit at one of the many outdoor cafes. Order an Aperol Spritz and you will be brought olives and chips as well. The drink and snack are the perfect combination to refresh and revive your sweat weary soul. (You should be forewarned that it is expensive, and there is usually a fee for sitting there.)

4. See the Calico Storico In Florence – While walking close to the Santa Croce in Florence, I noticed burly men dressed in historical type pants and no shirts. I also saw tons of people in white and green shirts. The square in front of Santa Croce had what looked like a stadium. Intrigued, I asked the bellman at my hotel what was going on. That is when I learned of the calico storico of Florence. The game is a cross of football (soccer) and rugby played in the sand. It is known to be a particularly violent game. The Guardian called it the most violent game. The final match is always played on June 24, which is San Giovanni’s Day, the patron saint of Florence.

7 Unique Italian Things to do During a Summer Visit to Italy

5. Eat Gelato Everywhere – As mentioned in point #3, it is hot in Italy in summer, and nothing is better to cool off with than a gelato! Of course, you can eat gelato at any time of the year, but it is a true treat in the heat. This year I tried pistachio flavored for the first time, and it is now my preferred flavor of gelato. What is your favorite flavor?

6. People Watch In Venice – People watching is one of my favorite activities in Italy and even more so in Venice. While most of the people you will be watching in the summer will be tourists, it is still fun to guess where they are from and to try to hear what language they are speaking. To do optimal people watching, I sit outside at a restaurant or near the window. Sometimes sitting at the bar is also good people watching.

7 Unique Italian Things to do During a Summer Visit to Italy

7. Rent a Car and Drive the Amalfi Coast – Renting a car is the best way to see Italy and I have done it twice now. Driving the Amalfi Coast is one of the most scenic drives in the world. The road twists and turns all the while giving you stunning views of the Mediterranean.

Have you done any summer Italian activities that you loved? Share with us in the comments.

Blog, Travel

A Blogging Break

June 13, 2016

blogging break

If you hadn’t noticed, I have been quiet on here. This is especially odd since I am in Italy for a month. That is because I have been debating whether or not to continue blogging. Blogging has been my hobby for a while now and I really do enjoy it. However, with a full-time job, it has begun to become stressful and I don’t want it to be. The other part is that the reward is not always visible to me. I enjoy taking photos and sharing my stories, but sometimes get very little feedback from readers. I understand as you are busy too! However, my motivation to blog is waning. I still have tons of ideas for blog posts and have been thinking of tons of stuff for Italy, but I just don’t have the motivation to write them.

Why I am sharing this with you? Well, first I didn’t just want to disappear. Second, I do have a few loyal readers and commentors and I feel I owe you an explanation. Third, I am still not sure what I am going to do long-term when it comes to the blog. Never say never, right? So for now we will call it a break and not a break-up. Maybe I will be back in a month or maybe the blog will morph into something else. Making this decision was difficult, so whatever happens, I will keep you updated here.

For the time being, I am still keeping up with some of my social media and may link to old posts as well. You will still be able to follow my travels! I didn’t say I was going to stop traveling! Click on these links to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or scan my Snapcode on the right. I will be honest that Snapchat is my favorite thing at the moment, so it may be the best place to keep up.

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