Mom, lets climb some stairs!

Today we woke up to more bug bites (if you can believe it, I am up to over 100 bug bites on my arms). Dont worry though, they are like mosquitos or no-see-ems. The only randomly itch and havent welted up. Anyway – we have only two items on the agenda today: to climb the Duomo and to see the David.

So after our breakfast, we bought our 1130 tickets to the climb and headed out the front door to stand in line for our ‘green pass’ (ie covid vaccine card) check. Once we passed that, we scanned our tickets and the climb began. Its 463 stairs to the top – its a lot. You get three breaks. One at the statues, one on the inside of the dome, and one before you descend the stairs basically straight up over the dome to the cupola. At the first break I was sure mom was going to kill me. Thankfully she didnt. When we got to the inside of the dome, she said, “oh we made it,” to which of course I had to say, “no, we didnt.”

Once we finally made it o the top, she sat down and said “I wouldnt have done that if I would have known.” but the views are so pretty and its an experience youll never get anywhere else – so its worth it. Its not easy, but its worth it. So, if you have the chance and you are in Florence, go and climb the Duomo.

The climb down, you also have a stop on the inside of the dome, before heading down a whole bunch of steps, with a stop and “how it was built.” Of course they do not release you into the church when you are done, you are escorted out of the church and if you desire to come back in, you must stand in a queue again to enter from the front. It is free (I believe and have been told). The church isnt as exciting from the inside as it is from the outside. The outside beauty really is one of a kind.

After our climb, our hands were nasty from holding onto the rusting handrails and dirty blocks so we went back to our hotel to wash our hands before reserving our tickets to the David (to avoid the lines) and walking over. Our hotel really was in such a wonderful location, because we had to walk about 5 blocks to get to the Academia (museum with the David).

We picked up our tickets, had our vaccine cards checked and entered the museum. You basically see the David right when you walk in, there is no waiting. It’s a great way to set the museum up, especially since that is what most people have come to see – but there are also some unfinished works, and some plaster molds used to plan the marble carved statues that can often be overlooked. The museum is nice and small. You are not overwhelmed with business – just the David.

We spent some time taking it in and doing some googling to find out more about it, since as crazy as it sounds, they dont have much information written about it IN the museum haha. I think it is their way of encouraging the audio guides or tour guides, but google was fine.

After we finished at the Academia, we decided to walk over to the food market our tour guide had told us about yesterday. We were excited to try some more local food. However, when we got upstairs to the cafeteria, we realized it was a lot of tourists and not a lot of good looking food. None of it really did much for either of us. So we each enjoyed a pop and people watching for a bit, then headed out to find some dinner.

We settled on a place in the Duomo square and got to enjoy people watching again for a while. It is so much fun to watch people see the Duomo for the first time, see the sleezy sales people try to sell selfie sticks and battery packs to tourists and the tour guides explain things to their clients in a million different languages.

After our day of climbing all the stairs we headed back to the hotel for an early night. Tomorrow we head to Venice!

how do you say pasta in italian?

Today we took our time in the morning – we really are enjoying this hotel. The beds are great, the room is nice, the view is wonderful and the breakfast was great! We had reservations for a golf cart tour of Florence at 1130, so that was the first thing we did. We headed out a bit early to make sure we found the place.

Our guide got there right at 1130 and we headed out. Ive been to Florence a couple times, but Ive never seen it by golf cart. We stopped by a couple churches the Santa Trinita (this was moms first church and it was cool to see her reaction) and Basilica Santa Maria Novella before heading across the river to see the Pitti palace, Ponte Vechio, the Vasari Corridor, and the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte and Piazzale Michelangelo. The Piazzale Michelangelo was the place on my list to go this trip because I had never been and it is the “post card picture” of Florence that everyone sees.

We passed back over the river to see the library and Basilica di S. Croce – this is where Machiavelli, Galileo and Michelangelo are buried. Our tour ended back where we started. We tipped Simone and headed back to our hotel to drop off some things before heading out to Basilica di S. Croce to go check out the tombs and head towards our pasta making class.

You have to show your green pass to get into the Basilica (or in our case our vaccination cards). After you pass that, then you can pay to enter. We bought our tickets and started walking around the huge cathedral. We found Machiavelli, Michelangelo and Galileo. It was pretty cool. They had a whole bunch of people there, not that I know who any of them are haha!

After the church we saw a street vendor selling scarves and mom wanted to check them out. She ended up finding a checkered multicolored one she liked, so we picked it up and headed toward our cooking class. We crossed the Ponte Vecchio bridge so mom could take a look at some gold and silver shops – but didnt find anything she had to have. On the other side of the bridge we stopped for some gelato and people watching. After a bit we kept walking and window shopping our way to our pasta making class.

Mom was pretty tired and not so much looking forward to the class because she was also hungry. I was too. We thought we were going to be the only ones, but all of a sudden 10 other people came from no where and boom, 12 of us in the class. Our class was awesome! Valentina was our instructor and she was just AMAZING. She had such a sense of humor and was a good teacher. She made us all separate from our groups so we could get to know others and it was such a great idea.

We made ravioli, some sort of other stuffed pasta and a noodle. The ravioli was the best, ricotta with truffle oil was the stuffing and it was cooked with butter and sage. They plated all 3 pastas on one plate – it was just divine. I hate all the noodles first, I dont like red sauce much. But the stuffed pasta with nutmeg and ricotta wasnt as great. They also served house wine – I had a sip. Wine just hurts haha!

We were given dessert too, basically like a flourless cake with cookies in it – so yummy. We chatted with some of the other travelers, all Americans in some form or the other – we all enjoyed our time there!

After dinner we headed home to crash. Eating is hard work!