Our drive north to Florence for a one night stay prior to our flight back to Canada was uneventful, excellent highways and moderate traffic. This changed rather drastically however when we reached Florence! Although it is a comparatively small city (Pop. 364,000), the streets date back to medieval times and are somewhat like viewing a bowl of spaghetti from above. We had been given directions which we attempted to follow on how to get to our hotel, but in the heavy traffic we managed this more by luck than by good management! The latter part of our arrival involved weaving our way through the parking area of the city buses, then going the wrong way down a narrow alley, as can be seen below. I am standing at the entrance to our hotel.






On checking in, we were advised we could park in the hotel parking area which was located about 50 meters further down. In the photo at left, looking down the alleyway, the entrance to the parking area is just opposite the parked Vespas and to the immediate right of the two men.  















At right is the entrance and narrow tunnel leading to a minute parking area capable of handling perhaps five small cars. Considering how narrow the alleyway and entrance were it was a true exercise in my extraordinary maneuvering capabilities to get our Alpha Romeo finally off the crowded, busy alleyway and safely tucked into the hotel lot. I must have jigged back and forth a dozen times before I could enter the tunnel, all the while the traffic was backing up behind me on the alleyway, but incredibly no horns blared!!! I guess they could appreciate the time consuming process required to get off the alleyway and into the hotel parking area.




With the parking finally completed, we then set off to see what we could accomplish in the short time we had available as it was now afternoon. Fortunately, we were basically in the centre of town and within walking distance of most of the prime tourist attractions.

 This included the marvelous statue of Michelangelo's David. It is undoubtedly a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created between 1501 and 1504 - a 5.17 metre (17 foot) marble statue of a standing male nude and representing the Biblical hero David . The following is the description from the Galleria dell'Accademia where the statue is displayed among many other beautiful works of Italian art.

"David was commissioned in 1501 by the Cathedral Works Committee (Opera Del Duomo). At the age of 26, Michelangelo was given a leftover block of marble that came from the mountains of Carrara, one which had previously been worked on by various other artists. The piece was intended as a monumental work, a testimony to the city's republican pride, not one for close confinement, but was moved to the Accademia in 1873 (from outside the Palazzo Vecchio, where a replica now stands ) to protect it from the ravages of time and the weather. "

"Viewed as a gallery piece, David looks odd; his upper body and head are both out of proportion, and out of keeping with the Renaissance obsession with the perfect harmony of form and proportion. However, it's argued that this is yet more evidence of Michelangelo's bravura - not only is David an incredible feat of technical skill, the scale is deliberate, as from the original viewpoint of the viewer the upper body would have been much farther away."








At left is the statue of Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination". He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.












The photo at right is one example of the works of art in our hotel, in harmony with the local artistic vogue.














And at left, one of the prints that adorned our suite.









Below are a few photos taken at the trattoria where we dined during our one evening in Florence. The food was local fare, very flavourful and reasonable, and the only problem we encountered was for Judy to select a wine to complement her dinner, as there were so many choices!






Our meals - Scrumptious!



Judy's dessert- Creme Brule with blueberries


 And my dessert - yet another calorie free Tiramasu, and the inevitable Cappucino...



 Next morning our departure ... once we found the airport that is.




A beautiful scene on our journey home.



And finally, 'Home Sweet Home!' A wonderful adventure. We would have truly enjoyed more time in Rome, Venice and Florence. Regardless, a perfect time in Tuscany!!! Yet another milestone completed on our "Live Now" list.

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