Reed Our Italian Diary

Day Two

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We had learned the day before that we needed reservations to see both the Uffizi and the Accademia, so we set off for the Uffizi. After consulting our Italian-English dictionary to read all the signs at the Uffizi, and by eavesdropping on conversations in English, we figured out where to buy tickets. The little things we take for granted in America, like signs printed in English…

This was Tuesday, we didn’t get reservations for the Uffizi until Thursday, but were guaranteed not to have to wait in a 3-hour line! Got same-day reservations for the Accademia, so we took off, map in hand, to find it. On our way, we discovered the gigantic Piazza del Republica, which would become one of Mark’s favorite hangouts because of the outdoor ristoranti with its own jazz band. We also stopped by to see the Campanile and the Duomo, which we would explore in greater detail some other day.

After so much walking, we stopped to have a wonderful lunch at an outdoor café and visited with couples from both Britain and Australia. It was nice to speak English again. We couldn’t figure out why Italians named fruit salad after a country, Macedonia, but we learned that it’s pronounced MATCH - E - DONYA. Whatever, it was delicious.

Off and running again, but wait. Sometimes restrooms are hard to find in a big city so you're forced to duck into someplace familiar to find one.

On our walk to the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s statue of David, we ran across The Hotel California (look carefully at the sign). Cool… the Eagles have been here!

The Galleria Dell Accademia (Academy Gallery) was founded in 1784 to teach techniques of painting, drawing, and sculpture. Since 1873 it has housed the world’s single most important collection of sculptures by Michelangelo. The centerpiece is, of course, his Statue of David, sculpted in 1504 and exhibited outside the Palazzo (palace) Vecchio, until 1873, when it was transferred to the Accademia to protect it from environmental damage. It captures the moment at which the young David contemplates defying the giant Goliath.

We also saw some beautiful paintings by other Renaissance artists in the Accademia. OBSERVATION: Mark observed that Renaissance artists were very fascinated by naked women, much as 21st century men are.

Dora had blisters forming on her feet, so we took a taxi back to the B&B for a nap before dinner. OBSERVATION: Italian taxi drivers are surprised when tipped. Still, we wanted to show American goodwill and do what we could to improve international relations.

As Dora napped, Mark made a trip to the neighborhood grocery store to buy fruit, bottled water, and other necessities. That was fun… OBSERVATION: Italian grocery stores devote entire aisles to shelve every imaginable kind of pasta.

That evening, we took a taxi to a 4-star restaurant in the heart of the city . It was recommended in our Florence book, and man was it good. The Florentine steak was beyond flavorful and melted in our mouths. What would the ladies in Mark’s Weight Watchers group think if they could see him now? Who cares! We shared a table with a couple from the University of Washington, both English professors. Hearty discussion ensued.

Like other Italians, we took an evening stroll, walking arm-in-arm through one of the most beautiful cities imaginable. Near the Uffizi, street performers, a young American on guitar and his dancing female sidekick entertained passersby with songs by Cat Stevens and Simon and Garfunkel. Another performing artist coaxed Euro coins from tourists by posing as a statue.

Back to the B&B and to bed after another beautidul day.


Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven
Day Eight | Day Nine | Day Ten | Day Eleven | Day Twelve | Day Thirteen | Day Fourteen