Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Florence Day 3 (4 Jan 09): Renaissance Shmrenaissance

We spent most of today's daylight hours indoors at The Galleria degli Uffizi, Italy's most famous picture gallery. It's quite a gem of a museum - The Uffizi is well-preserved proof that Florence was indeed the birthplace of the Renaissance. The rooms are arranged to show the development of Renaissance art. It begins with the pre-Renaissance, with all the gold and pomp the medieval Catholic Church could buy, and progresses through time until the Renaissance reaches its zenith with the work of Boticelli, da Vinci, Michaelangelo and Caravaggio. I'm not at all an art expert, but the development of art was clear: static, unmoving figures to images all too human. Quite captivating was Boticelli's Birth of Venus and my personal fixation, Primavera:

Also spectacular was the view from the Uffizi of the Ponte Vecchio, three more bridges and the River Arno:

Lunch today was at a trattoria called Boccadama, with polenta con salsiccia e tartufo:


Papardelle al Cinghiale:

and Tagliata di manzo al funghi porcini:

The weather gave us a break from the cold today and so L and I wandered the streets of Florence in the beautiful dusky light of the late afternoon (There really is something about that Tuscan Sun!). We saw the famous Santa Maria Novella, which was unfortunately closed when we got there:

A little further past the church was the Farmacia Santa Novella, a sixteenth century shop founded by the Dominican monks living in Santa Maria Novella as a place to sell their potions and herbal remedies:

Many of the original formulas used by the monks are still sold today. Something about the wonderful smells inside the pharmacy just makes you want to purchase stuff, and L and I quite predictably bought some relaxing home scents and teas.

After further wandering around, a bar and shots of limoncello, we eventually found ourselves needing dinner at about 10 p.m. Our Rough Guide Directions pointed us towards a trattoria called Natalino, where I ate a Parmesan and Artichoke Salad:


and L had a Pasta Vongole (which L claims is the best vongole he's ever had):

We also had dessert today, and as we were in Florence, we did as the Florence people do and ate Tiramisu:

I'll go back to Florence just for this Tiramisu (And the Bistecca Fiorentina. And the Parmesan and Artichoke Salad. And the Pasta Genovese. And the Ribollita. And, well, you get what I mean.)

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