Friday, August 22, 2008

Photos from 9...

Look...I promise...I tried to edit this set down :) But I just love the variety of these shots. Day 9 was all in Florence, but we walked all over Florence. Enjoy.

The Tuscan sun shined brightly this morning, when we ventured out after breakfast. Began our day at the 14th-century Basilica of San Lorenzo. Although lacking a finished facade, the church's interior is bright and full of famous treasures commissioned by the ruling Medicis. Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Michelangelo contributed. Also visited the quiet adjoining cloister.

The nearby streets were lined with the leather and garment stands leading to the Central Market. Il Mercato Centrale is full of food stands of all types: meats, seafood, cheeses, pastas, and produce. The "mystery meats" tested our fortitude...huge folded piles of tripe, stacked cow hooves, and pale pig snouts. Yum!

The image of the snouts faded and we grabbed lunch at Trattoria Anita. Spaghetti ragu, tagliatelle with porchini mushroom, and a creamy asparagus-topped chicken.

Dessert across the Ponte Vecchio at our (current) favorite gelateria...Santa Trinita. Visited the Chisea di Santa Maria del Carmine, with its famous Branacci Chapel. This frescoed chapel contains the iconic scene of Adam and Eve being cast from the Garden of Eden.

As the afternoon grew late, we headed through one of the old City walls, headed up a long, STEEP set of stairs, and arrived at the Chisea di San Miniato al Monte. A large beautiful church with almost no interior lighting...leaving the interior details to be revealed slowly as eyes adjust to the darkness. An emerging scene of lovely frescoes, a painted beam ceiling, and gold-clad altars. At 5:30, the local monks begin to chant, filling the halls with a magical, soothing sound that surrounds you. Early evening views of city below. Returned with a short walk through a hillside rose garden full of amore. A peaceful stroll along the Arno.

Returned to Coquinarius for dinner. Fantastic Chianti and bruchetta to start. Two wonderful first courses: cheese and pear ravioli, gorgonzola and bacon gnocchi. Two hearty salads as our entrees. The only downside to dinner was watching the last two pieces of dreamy cheesecake go to another table while we sat and sat waiting for our waitress :( We had revenge gelato from nearby Grano, famous for its artisan flavors...very good, but we enjoyed Santa Trinita better.

Too tired to go our, we strolled the city. Discovered a dual-guitar concerto echoing through the Piazza della Signora.

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