Florence - August 4: Florentine Traditions
Breakfast this morning was in the courtyard. It's very pretty there with flowers and a view of tiled roofs.
Our first stop this morning was Santa Maria Novella Church. I saw a beautiful painting by Masaccio who was the first painter since ancient times to portray man in nature. At the suggestion of our hotel, we also visited the cloisters. One of the areas served as the headquarters for the Spanish Inquisition.
Once we left the church we headed to Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella. It started centuries ago as an herb garden for the monks. Today they still practice the old traditions making soaps and perfumes in lovely containters. No prices are marked so my owners wouldn't buy me anything.
Feeling hungry we headed to Cantinetta Del Verrazzano . Named after the explorer, it is a beautiful old world cafe. We noticed two interesting traditions here. To prepare a glass for white wine, crushed ice is scooped into a glass and mixed vigorously to chill it. The second tradition is to bring a large honeycomb to the table. The waiter prepares cheese on bread with a dash of fresh pepper, and covers it with honey right off the comb topped with a paper thin orange slice. It is delicioso! The waiter said the honey comes from his own vineyard.
Our reservations for the Uffizi were at 4:00 and we breezed right past a line of 100 people and climbed 100 steps to the top floor. Using our Rick Steves' guide, we saw paintings by Botticelli and Leonardo Da Vinci. Dinner was in the Piazza Vecchio and ended at Grom, a famous gelateria which makes its own gelati.
"Madonna with Child and Two Angels: A Painting by Filippo Lippi"
Hands folded in prayer
Adoring angels hold high
the loving Christ Child