2012.6.1~2In the afternoon, we first went to Galleria dell’Accademia (Academy of Fine Arts, official site). Established in 1563, It was the first school in Europe specifically teaching the techniques of drawing. The line at the entrance quite long. The most famous work housed by the Academy is the original David by Michelangelo, but what is more unforgettable is a colorful copy of blonde David standing at the courtyard. Humorous? Ridiculous? Bold to say the least.

David, Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence
Original David and a faked one at Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence

After left Galleria dell’Accademia, we walked around Piazza San Marco.

Florence
Street artists selling their paintings are all over the city, Florence
Gelato, Florence
Gelato stores are everywhere, Florence

It’s already late afternoon at the time we returned to Piazza del Duomo. The sunshine drifted up gradually along the cathedral and the bell tower, with the color was getting warmer from very bright to golden.

Cathedral and Giotto's Campanile, Florence
Cathedral and Giotto’s Campanile, Florence
West façade and the dome of the cathedral, Florence
Baptistery, west façade and the dome of the cathedral, Florence

My wife went to Ponte Vecchio to listen to Claudio Spadi’s music again. I walked along River Arno between Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Santa Trinita and tried to capture the beautiful sunset that painted the city and sky with orange and purple color.

Ponte Santa Trinita, Florence
Spring, one of four statues that represent four seasons on Ponte Santa Trinita, Florence
Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Santa Trinita, Florence
Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Santa Trinita, from Ponte alla Carraia, Florence
Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Santa Trinita, from Ponte alla Carraia, Florence
Lungarno Acciaiuoli, Florence
Lungarno Acciaiuoli by River Arno, Florence

We started walking back to the hotel after the sun sunk below the horizon. Mercato Vecchio (The Old Market) was filled with souvenirs and antiques stands during daytime but now it’s all empty but one playing accordion. It was the first time I heard someone play classic music, such as Pachelbel’s Canon and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, by accordion.

Playing accordion at Mercato Vecchio (The Old Market), Florence
A street artist playing accordion at Mercato Vecchio, Florence

In the next day morning, we went to see the museum you don’t want to miss, Uffizi. It is one of the most prestigious museums in the world because of its vast amount of collections and their quality. Some of famous works include, Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo. Most of the displays were Medici family’s collections. No wonder in the earlier day, when I was at Piazza Santa Maria Novella, I saw a banner read something like, “too bad today’s arts collectors’ tastes are not as good as Medici’s”. We reserved the tickets through our hotel on the day of our arrival, otherwise the waiting queue would be much longer. Photography was not allowed in Uffizi, but I couldn’t help to taking a shot at this one. Is he a time traveler?

Portrait of a Young Man, by Georg Pencz, Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Portrait of a Young Man, by Georg Pencz, Uffizi, Florence
The narrow courtyard between the Uffizi's two wings, Florence
The narrow courtyard between the Uffizi’s two wings designed by Giorgio Vasari, Florence

We had some time walking around the city before going back to the hotel.

A restaurant, Florence
A restaurant. Across the road, it’s a Pinocchio store, Florence
Palazzo dell'Arte della Lana, Florence
Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana, a guildhall Florence’s powerful wool industry in Late Middle Ages

The afternoon time was reserved for shopping. Florence is one of top fashion capitals of the world. One major upscale shopping street, Via de’ Tornabuoni, where many high fashion boutiques are located, is only steps away from the hotel.

After walking in and out these fashion stores for two hours, I finally convinced my wife to go to Piazzale Michelangelo as our city tour’s last destination. The taxi dropped us near San Miniato al Monte so we had chance to first see this beautiful Romanesque church on the very top of the hill.

San Miniato al Monte, Florence
The interior of San Miniato al Monte, Florence
Overlook Florence from San Miniato al Monte
Overlook the city from San Miniato al Monte. The cemetery next to the basilica is called Porte Sante, where many artists and scholars were buried, Florence.

Piazzale Michelangelo offers a spectacular panorama view of the city. Locals come here for picnic, couples take wedding photos and tourists gather at west steps listening to music and waiting for the sunset. Although our days at Florence all started cloudy, they always cleared up in the afternoon. We had three gorgeous sunsets in a row. Looking down from the square, all the historical landmarks we have visited stood one after another in front of our eyes. The entire city were bathed in the beautiful red glow. Our trip ended on the most romantic note.

Florence panorama from Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence
City’s panoramic view from Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence
River Arno and Bridges in sunset, Florence
River Arno and Bridges in the sunset glow, Florence
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