Thursday, 31 March 2016

Milan: Princi Pizza for the Principessa

Milan, Italy (Milano, Italia)
October 2015
As soon as we entered the general vicinity of Milano, we quickly learned of a mysterious event dubbed "The Expo". Signs exalting it were everywhere, leading us to research it online to determine if we wanted in on such a thing. What we discovered was an odd light sculpture (the tree of life I believe it was called) and some speeches involving women, agriculture, and Africa. We may have been even more confused than we were previously.
At our Milanese campsite we were intrigued to be surrounded by a number of French people who were visiting for "The Expo". We were also disgusted to be surrounded by the smell of campervan shithole and barnyard manure (several donkeys and geese were our neighborly campdwellers).
Bright and early the next morning, we purchased bus tickets from the camp store which looked suspiciously like they had been made using shiny paper and some guy's printer. We weren't sure if they were legit bus tickets, and also suspected that they were somehow for "The Expo" as that's what it seemed everyone else wanted.
Luckily we were delivered to the centre safe and sound, and certainly not at "The Expo".
The metro was incredibly easy to use and we popped out right next to the duomo! Oddly enough, we got the immediate impression that Milan was much more Viennese in flavour compared to the rest of Italy - grandiose buildings, stately squares and much sculpture. I liked the duomo in all its sharpness - if cathedrals were shoes this would be a pointy stiletto heel, which happens to suit Milan perfectly.

While acquiring an elevated photo of the cathedral, we hung out with a lion that was popular among the pigeons. I respect that he retains his dignified king-of-the-jungle pose even while being shat on.
Walking through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was a claustrophobe's nightmare, as hundreds of tourists pressed in from all sides and street hawkers threw around inflatable squeaking tomatoes. One of the oldest shopping malls in the world, it was opened in 1877 and houses four stories of shops. It was amazing to gaze up at the exquisite architecture and detailed decoration - a marvel of light and stone.
Looking down we found some impressive examples of mosaic work, including the she-wolf representation of Rome. Apparently it's good luck to stomp the balls of Turin's bull under your heel, but we rejected that for several reasons (the main reason being that we are skeptics and will happily walk under ladders or bring bananas on boats, but also because it seemed cruel and unusual to squash anyone's balls, even if they are a mosaic).
A-hungered from all the crowd-dodging, we attempted to eat lunch at Princi, a popular bakery with a queue extending into the southern hemisphere. Instead of torturing ourselves with hours of wait time, we walked a while to reach an acclaimed cheese bar, but they were foolishly overpriced so we visited the second Princi bakery (it's all we could afford in this city of Michelin stars and ridiculous mozzarella brunches). 
Success! Still having to wait in a (shorter) line, we did manage to secure both a table and two slices of soft and delectable margherita pizza. The base was thick, but well cooked and the toppings were generous. We finished lunch off with a couple of desserts and then set about on the nigh impossible task of finding a decent cafe in the city (coz wifi and iPhone charging yo).
Bizarrely in a country with such a good coffee scene, I deem Milan's cafe culture to be certifiably shite. There must be homely cafes somewhere, but all we could find were huge establishments three stories high which sold Starbucks-like options. The only other "alternatives" were hugely posh gold-plated places with waiters dressed in white, which had been around since the mid 1700's and where we would have had to dole out hundreds of euros on fancy pastries just to have them consider letting bejandalled travelers consume anything on the premises. 
We exploredly wandered some more and briefly checked out Sforza Castle, a rather ugly brick fortress with a more modern but still unattractive fountain in front. In the mid 1400's Ludovico Sforza decided he wanted a bit more coour on the walls and brought in several famous artsits (including Leonardo da Vinci) to be interior decorators. Good choice, bro. 
After more wandering, during which time we felt like underdressed peasants due to the elevated chicness of the Milanese, we eventually returned to the duomo which was aglow in the warm afternoon light. Next stop - Torino!

Today's post was almost called: Scandalous Jandalous - I Are Befeet Vandal

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Parma: Midst Rosy Stones with Culinary Undertones

Parma, Italy (Parma, Italia)
October 2015
Having slept in at our Pisan campsite, we rushed to Parma and fretted over whether the trattoria we had set our sights on would still be serving. We needn't have worried! Not only was it still serving, but there was a line out the door. A kindly old man in a red cardigan (who seemed to be running the whole operation) instructed us to return in twenty minutes. Biding our time, we wandered nearby streets and checked out a knicknack market, a bookstore which also sold wine and a food market (which was selling French cider for €8 - outrageous).
took much enjoyment from finding beautifully decorated windows and doors. I'll admit I took too many photos of them, but look at that seashell pattern!
After twenty minutes passed, we rejoined the clamour of hopeful luncheoners at Trattoria del Tribunale and were ushered inside like lost children just as it started to drizzle.
To start we ordered a platter of cured meats (including prosciutto di Parma) and fried bread. These parcels were very similar to the fried bread that we first encountered in KorĨula, and we reminisced accordingly. I had mushroom risotto for my main (including parmigiano reggiano di Parma - aka Parmesan cheese), and to finish we sampled a couple of fruity desserts. 
Satiated, we strolled through the piazza del duomo and took a quick peek inside the cathedral. Finding the outside more interesting than the inside, we carried on to the baptistery. 
Now that's a door!
Oddly shaped, the battistero was arguably more interesting than the duomo. Construction began in the early 1100's but was delayed by a few hundred years due to unforeseen obstacles. The biggest set back was probably when the supply of pink Verona marble petered out. 
Passing rather a lot of studenty musicians hell-bent on eternal stardom, we headed back to our carpark and drove in the direction of Milano. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Mind Your Pisan Cues: Gastronomy, Gus and Gary Baldy

Pisa, Italy (Pisa, Italia)
October 2015
Strolling along the Arno running through Pisa, the ornate riverside piazzas could fool you into believing that you were in Florence.
The old town seems small compared to many other great Italian cities, but its beautiful architecture and sculpture is far from scarce.
To start our statue tour, we have Garibaldi in a dashing neckerchief in front of a delicate pink-and-white facade. WHO DAT? Well, Giuseppe Garibaldi was a general and politician who fought to unify Italy in the 1800's. With courageous exploits in Europe and abroad, he has been referred to as "the only wholly admirable figure in modern history". What a guy.
Next we have Ferdinando I di Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. The son of Cosimo I and Eleanora di Toledo, he proved to be a productive leader himself by improving transport systems along the Arno to expedite trade between Pisa and Florence.
He is not to be confused with Ferdinando di Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany, an avid collector of musical instruments who funded the invention of the piano around 1700. (Wow. Those Medici, huh?)
What better way to end our statue tour than to exalt the great Cosimo I de Medici? (He is heartlessly stepping on a dolphin, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that the sculptor took artistic licenses.)

This fine work can be found in the Knight's Square, which was the political heart of Pisa in the Middle Ages. The building behind Cosimo is the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, which is one of three universities in the city and was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1810. Pisa had a real student town feel, which clashed somewhat with the rampant tourist trade.
At the other edge of the square was this wonderful building, topped with a little bell. As you can hopefully see from the photo, the angles were a bit skewiff, but that just added to the charm. It appeared that they had tried to preserve some of the original frescoes. 
Following in the tradition we took from Siena, we found a panineria and munched away on salami sandwiches at Il Cuido. Slightly more sophistocated than your average Italian deli, you could actually choose fillings like rocket and different sauces!
At €6.50 a sandwich, it was a tasty and reasonably priced meal (especially considering it was such a large panino that we shared it between us), unlike the cappuccinos we acquired sometime later at an outrageous cafe for €5 apiece. Ridiculous. I appreciate that your cafe has free wifi and available plugs for us to charge our devices that connect us to the modern world, but that's too high a mark-up for coffee! (Fun fact: a typical cappuccino from a non-ridiculous cafe should set you back around €1.20.) Of course, it wouldn't be a proper European trip without being price gouged for drinks at least once. 
And as with any respectable Italian city, there's a grungier side. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say that grunginess lies everywhere, behind the extravagant palazzos and gleaming squares. Laundry hanging from window sills, pigeons ruffling their feathers atop a restaurant's extractor fan, and paint peeling from the shutters. These streets are some of my most enjoyed, as unlike the grandiose constructions, this is where the people live. Not in palaces, but in tiny apartments with smoke-filled stairwells and that ever ringing phone on the third floor. 
We saw an SUV pulled up outside a shop with the boot left open to give the dog some air. I have no idea why you would want to, but the sign above him reads "do not touch the dog". He looks like a Grumpy Gus. 
As Pisa is the last destination of the Chocolate Valley (or the beginning depending on how you go about it), we stopped at De Bondt for a sampling of cioccolato. (This was after we gorged ourselves on gelato, in case you were wondering.)
Finally we got some chocolate!
We neglected to snap a photo in the daytime, so instead I tried to light it with two different illuminatory objects in our tent that night. I know what you're thinking. We could have waited until the next morning, but we wanted to eat it all! And it was great.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Chocolate Valley: Error 404 - Chocolate Not Found

October 2015
Near the top of Tuscany between Pisa and Prato is what is affectionately known as the Chocolate Valley. We were hoping for a magical feast, but what transpired wasn't all fairytales.
Prato, Italy
From Florence, we made our first stop in Prato in order to visit Pasticceria Minnori. 
But wait! Dessert isn't always first, so we commenced our lunch with carbon bread which we found at a supermarket. It was fairly strange to eat black bread, but if you closed your eyes you couldn't tell the difference between black and normal loaves. Yannick thought it reminiscent of the carbonised bread recovered from Herculaneum that we were lucky enough to see in an exhibition in the Ara Paxis museum in Rome (you can read more about it here). 
The pasticceria items we selected included a mini baba au rhum, some biscuits, and what Yannick refers to as an orange "mousse cube". So eloquent. As you may have guessed, the desserts were wonderful, but perhaps what was even more interesting were the goings-on around us as we ate.
For context, we had found a small urban park and were making the most of the middling grass there. It all began with packs of schoolchildren skulking around. If any of them were plotting anything (like stealing our baked goods), they would have been put off by the large serrated cheese knife that Yannick polished nonchalantly. Meanwhile, over in the carpark Italian mafiosos were conducting what may have been a drug deal gone wrong with Chinese triad members around the bonnet of a parked Fiat. Gestures were flung, voices were raised, and they parted ways. Not understanding Italian, we speculated that we had just witnessed the kick-off of a turf war.
As we stared, a Chinese man walked hurriedly passed us with his mobile phone to his ear and drove off in a big shiny Mercedes. Was he ordering a hit on the mafiosos or was he just checking on his dry cleaning? We will never know.

Agliana
While our post-lunch dessert tray did contain some chocolate, we wanted more, more, MOAR! We were in the so-called Chocolate Valley, after all. Having heard the legend of Roberto Catinari, we employed the help of Synthia (our GPS) to find this majestic place. What was promised was some of the best, most traditional cioccolato in Italia. As is often the case in Italy, neither Synthia nor Google Maps knew where he lived and tried to lead us astray. However, we ignored her calm voice telling us to "in one hundred meters, turn right" because we knew the street number and we couldn't be fooled.
Eventually we found it, but were thwarted by 'Italian Siesta', in which shopkeepers go to sleep for five or so hours in the middle of the day. We despaired at the 'closed' sign, but resolved to lift our mood in Pistoia. 

Pistoia
Described as a kind of Florence without the hordes of tourists, we had high hopes for Pistoia. Things started to go downhill immediately when having found a carpark, we couldn't figure out how to work the biglietto machine. While ineffectually pressing buttons, a car pulled up next to us and every one of the occupants shouted words at us. We knew not what they meant, except for "gratis". Aha! Free parking! Much rejoicing was had and we moseyed on in to Pistoia. 
The narrow streets were lined with tall pastel buildings, and one church's dome was so huge that it was difficult to fit into the camera. 
The architecture was quite beautiful, though I wouldn't go so far as to compare it to Florence. But I might be biassed. (Firenze, Firenze, wherefore art thou Firenze?!)
Now, on to the chocolate! Or lack thereof. We scoured the streets for street vendors selling a fabled crepe filled with hazelnuts, chocolate and cream. Maybe they were sleeping, as no vendors could be found. Not a one!
Instead, we sampled gelato from Gelateria Voronoi on the main square. The flavours were decent, but I wanted Pistoian choco-crepes! I ate a hazelnut flavoured gelato, so why no crepes?! The nuts of hazel are clearly available.
After 4pm, the town started to open its bleary eyelids and people once again populated the streets. We were even able to enter a church and take a peek around.

Pontedera 
Bellies full, yet still seeking chocolate, we made for Pontedera. Home of the coveted Amedei chocolates, we were hopeful that just once that day we could actually ingest some nice hand-crafted Tuscan cioccolati. We got off on the wrong foot thanks to Synthia. She means well, but is too embarrassed when she doesn't know where something is and sends us off in random directions hoping that we will find it. As the street we drove down looked far too rural to have a chocolate shop on it, we stopped in the nearby village of La Rotta to ask directions. A small corner store was open and though we spoke very little Italian and the shopkeep spoke no English or French, we managed to convey that we wanted to acquire Amedei chocolate. Being Italian, he was fluent in hand gestures, and used them to explain our waypoint. We surmised that he was telling us to take the first left in 200 metres and there should be signs from there.
Back in the car, we followed his directions even though they took us to the same road we had driven down before. Yet lo and behold! There were signs. Somehow we had missed them the first time, but excitement was coursing through our veins and we cared not for past mistakes.
Soon, we sighted it! Amedei. Or rather, large closed gates with the name emblazoned on them. Finding the carpark, we tried to figure out if we were too late in the day and they had shut. Just as we began conducting an investigation, a man exited the gate. We tried to ask him if Amedei was closed, or indeed if it was a chocolate shop at all. Though he did non capisco, he smiled in a friendly manner and pressed an intercom button before departing. It turned out that the lady on the other end of the intercom spoke inglese and informed us that this was the Amedei factory. If we wanted to purchase chocolate, we could buy it from number 79 on the main road.
Deflated, yet still holding on to a glimmer of hope, we tracked down number 79...and it was a run down cafe with the closest resemblance to chocolate taking the form of a semi-melted Snickers bar.
We gave up. We were on the main road, at number 79! Yet we were clearly in the wrong place.
Chocolateless, we set up camp at a campground ten minutes' walk from Pisa. We would have to try again the next day. Pisa, don't fail me now.

Today's post was almost called: Choc Full of Lament

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Florence, day five: A Barrel of Pizza? Don’t Mind If I Do.

Florence, Italy (Firenze, Italia)
October 2015
On our fifth and final day in the most Firenzical of Tuscan cities, we set our alarm for the earliest time ever and were even more grog than the day before. Yet we had to make good use of the last few hours left on our Firenze cards. We decided to spend them at Palazzo Pitti, which probably needs three days all by itself to explore properly.
Walking across the Ponte Vecchio at such an early hour opened our eyes to how many tourists there normally are in the city clogging up the bridge. With the glimmers of dawn metamorphosising into full daylight, it was almost deserted. And with a significant lack of crowds we could see that it was a legit street! We thought it was a pedestrian-only zone, but seeing a couple of cars pulled up to the curb proved that assumption to be false. Yannick pondered if any bastard SatNavs had tried to lead unsuspecting foreigners across the bridge during peak touristing hours, leading their cars to be hijacked by the angry mob of visitors pressing in from all sides. 
The south side of the Arno was a little grungier than the duomo side, and we found some inventive graffiti. This one turned Girl with a Pearl Earring into a scuba diver. Gotta get those monster pearls somewhere right?!
Freaky bat gargoyle fountain - 'nuff said.
Once acquiring our Palazzo Pitti tickets, we entered the Boboli Gardens. Nobody has a standardised way of accepting the Firenze cards, so sometimes you have to go get a ticket from the normal ticket booth, sometimes you have to get a ticket from a special ticket booth, sometimes you don't need a ticket at all and you can walk right in, and sometimes you realise this is Italy and it's actually a national triumph in organisation and efficiency to have such a thing as a city-wide concession card at all. We were lucky enough to have our cards scanned and then were given printed tickets to each separate part of the palace, which meant that we didn't actually have to worry about when exactly our Firenze cards ran out of juice, as we had tickets! We could go wherever whenever!
The gardens were expansive and felt less like a contained garden and more like a small country where aristocrats are born. Every direction is covered in sculptures, fountains and giant bathtubs (clearly this was some kind of style, but it looked like a drowning hazard to me). 
It was wonderful to be surrounded by greenery as a change from the stone jungle of the historic centre, and to be able to look out over Florence from afar. 
Look at this shit! It goes for miles!
Okay, quick history lesson: the palazzo was built in 1458 by the banker Luca Pitti, but was purchased by the Medici a century later. It feels like if the Medici wanted something, no one could stop them and they had plenty of cashmonay to make it happen. Fast forward to the 1700's when Napoleon took it over as his headquarters and house. There's a lot more, but we don't have the time or attention span to go into it right now. Moving along. 
There was no way we had the energy to explore every area of the gardens, but we did find some beautiful canopied walkways. Heading through, we saw a cat chase in progress accompanied by surprised howls and figured that the instigator had decided he was the feline king of the gardens and other cats were not welcome. It's a large kingdom to police single-handedly. Shoutout to that boss cat. 
After a game of football (using a chestnut as a makeshift ball) and a brief exploration of a pot plant-lined pond, we ended our garden tour. Making our way back inside, we ventured into the apartments and gallery section of the palazzo. First there was an exhibition on Carlo Dolci who was an awesome painter dude and his name means dessert. His style was super detailed portraits with eyelash-less eyes.
The permanent gallery was in crazy decorative apartments and had so many paintings it was hard to know where to look. I preferred it when we got to a section that was more just rooms preserved with original period furniture. There was a grand bedroom with an interesting aesthetic. Some important lady had been told that she could have the ensuite bathroom any way she liked so she demanded an oval room covered in silk. As would any rational person in that situation.
One gallery which would normally hold no interest to us was focused on fashion. But we had heard that there were some clothing pieces that Cosimo and Eleanora of Toledo had been buried in. We couldn't miss vintage funereal garb! I totally fangirled over Cosimo's shirt and Eleanora's gown. It's so old and well-preserved! (No photos were allowed unfortunately.)
We briefly peeked into another exhibition just to see what it was, and it turned out to be photos of creepy anatomically correct wax human anatomy models. Glossy and meaty innards were captured in large prints hanging on the walls. It was gross and we left. 
Having devoted our whole morning to the palace, our bellies were in dire need of pizzerial sustenance. We raced across to a nearby pizza joint we had read about earlier (called Gusta Pizza) and seated ourselves at a barrel for two. Marinara and margherita followed along with excellent and generous glasses of red wine. Look at that rustic crust! That's how you know it tastes good - they don't care about presentation. 
Patrons would write notes on their pizza tickets and push them under the glass-topped barrel so we followed suit. I am not good at drawing kiwi birds but I had a go because that's how we do it in the ol' en-zed.
Bussing and walking back to the campsite, we sipped ice cold sparkling water. At one point we saw seven cats laying in the sun on a driveway, all slowly blinking at us in a tranquil and disinterested manner. They clearly had no territorial issues like the King of Boboli. Our last afternoon in Florence was spent napping (by me) and doing the washing (thanks Yannick).

Today's post was almost called: Pitti Please With a Cherry Tomato On Top

Monday, 7 March 2016

Florence, day four: Gathering Firenzic Evidence (Don’t Disturb the Climb Scene)

Florence, Italy (Firenze, Italia)
On Firenzical day numero quattro we awoke super early and caught a bus to the centre with a bunch of commuters. Our plan of grogginess paid off, as the line for the campanile was short and we immediately began the climb. 
This is a photo of the campanile from our third Firenzical day so you can see how tall we became by reaching the top. This sort of thing is exciting to someone who stands at 157 centimetres at ground level. 
We took several breaks on the way up to catch our breath and snap photos. Two interesting things we found were a metal grille on the floor which looked a long way down the tower, and a small windowy grille which hopeless romantics had fastened lovelocks onto. In Europe it seems that if you can close a padlock around it, someone undoubtedly has. 
One reason for no lines or traffic jams on the stairs was the poor weather. While not actually raining most of the time, a thick oppressive mist hung over the city and caused non-waterproof clothing to become soaked. 
The view from the top was rather good, and we sighted our vantage point from the previous day - the apex of the dome. You can see an array of colourful umbrellas along the dome's balcony, as street vendors down in the square were opportunistically hawking these to queueing tourists as well as plastic ponchos. I liked the guys who donned a poncho coupled with an unfurled umbrella so as to demonstrate both of their products to potential patrons (bonus points for interesting colour combos). Conversely, some made very little effort - demerits to you, bored salesmen! Speaking of effort, we clamb three tall things in two days! Ma legs! As we began the descent, two middle-aged Italian men who had just completed their ascent collapsed onto a nearby bench, wheezing and gulping down great haggard breaths of air. Methinks they need to climb more towers.
Next we wanted to see the free part of the duomo as it was stilll early enough in the day that the queue didnt circumnavigate the entire cathedral. It hadn't quite opened yet, so we queued with the rest of the damp tourists. Once inside, our initial impression was that it was much too large a space to be so bare. Siena's duomo was also huge, yet every square metre was covered in decorations and that was more impressive in a way than sheer size alone. 
The crypt housed a museum filled with fascinating insights into Florentine history, including an Italian family bearing six hedgehogs. Wow cute! Around the main pathway were remains of fifth century mosaics which showcased Florence's wealth (as they were able to employ foreign craftsmen) as well as their close relationship with North Africa. 
These remarkably well-preserved gilded bronze spurs were found in the tomb of Giovanni de Medici, and was buried in the church Santa Reparata in 1351. Apparently he was titled 'gonfaloniere' of the Florentine Republic, which is a great word for an uninteresting appointment.
Moving on, we visited the church of Santa Maria Novella. Seeing no signs denoting any separate entrance for Firenze card holders, we foolishly joined the normal queue. After waiting our turn, we approached the ticket booth and were told to go to the opposite side of the church. We ended up having to enter through the information centre, which is so intuitive! How did we miss it?!
Bitterness aside, the church was a delight. In one part, tombstones covered the walls and much of the floor! We gazed at faded frescoes and wandered through several cloisters. Competed around 1360, it was termed 'novella', meaning "new" as it was built atop a pre-existing ninth century church. An early nativity scene painted by Botticelli graces its walls. 
After a short cappuccino break we finally entered my favourite church - Santa Maria Croce! I'd seen it from the outside numerous times as we walked past it on the way to other attractions, and today was the day to step inside. 
Being a rainy day, I spied an appropriately placed collection of water for what Instagram refers to as a "puddle gram". Spartanly decorated both externally and internally, Lonely Planet likens it to a barn (though I think that's unfair - and insulting to barns (jk trololol)). 
I really liked this lady's crown - it's a mini castle! If I had a crown it would be a mini castle. 
Many tombs of famous Italians lay here, including that of Galileo (pictured above), Dante and Michelangelo. You have to admit that Croce is pretty darn special!
The museum inside went into detail about the great flood of the Arno River in 1966 in which 101 people died and a tragically high number of paintings and books were damaged or lost entirely. A devoted restoration effort sprung up (workers were endearingly dubbed "mud angels"), and some pieces are still being worked on to this day. 
In one part of the museo we sighted an amazing painting by a man named Bezzuoli. Depicting the Assumption of the Virgin, it's not your typical biblical motif, and actually seems more like a satire of the genre - the angel and cherubs are struggling quite dramatically to hoist the matronly figure, who is blind to her companions' plight. 
Moving on to the Medici Chapel, we entered the vampiric tomb chamber with awe. Or at least I did, as Yannick had already seen it before on our 2013 trip - I had missed it due to my foot being fat from infection. I deem it vampiric for all the dark red and grey stone covering the walls and...there are creepy coffins lying around. I can totally imagine a centuries-old Medici creaking out from under the lid and staring around with pupil-less eyes. 
As Cosimo was cuzzies with Michelangelo (figuratively speaking), many sculptures of his grace the chapel. He was an amazing artist, but I do not understand those weird shaped boobs like half oranges stuck onto pecs. I don't think that occurs in nature. If you do have boobs that shape though, no judgement. Donatello also has a tomb in the chapel as he was a great friend of the Medicis. 
Guess who! That's right, it's David the famous penis. He is one of the first things you see upon entering the Galleria dell'Accademia, probably because...ya know...it's David. He's wicked tall and was carved to epitomise the ideals of male physique. People be snapping photos left right and centre. Oh and behind him too. Basically anywhere that there was a space to stand, someone was taking a picture. Me included obvs.
Further on we perused plaster casts of works by popular Italians and observed interesting tourists. The couple above would halt and both listen intently at their single audioguide with super serious expressions. 
While this couple liked to bend at a 90-degree angle to get a really good look at information plaques. They did this with every single info plaque
An interesting trend we noticed was that of "Hairy Magdalene" - aka Mary Magdalene after returning from the desert. In some paintings and sculpture, it wasn't just her head hair that was outta control, but she also seemed to somehow sprout an abundance of body hair like she was evolving into a wooly sheep. Her Hairyness is mentioned nowhere in the Bibble, but rather is a construction dating from medieval times. I don't know why. But it is pretty funny.
It was here that I left behind our umbrella right before closing time, requiring us to procure a new one. Yannick insisted on the colour red [insert rolling eye emoji here]. 
And once again, we supped upon our most favouritest of pizzas from Pizzeria Caffee Italiano. I already used this photo in my first Florence post, but here it is again! Get an eyeful of that wondrous marinara pizza. You beauty!

Today's post was almost called: I Love You. Let’s Padlock a Grille.