Florence, Italy (Firenze, Italia)
Our third Firenzical day began with a wounded bus. We had attempted to catch it into the centre, but determined it to be out of action once we saw that the driver was not in their seat, but rather walking around and around the bus looking at the tyres (they were all still there). Luckily another bus appeared quickly and we were able to enact our original plan. Having our Firenze cards, we rocked up to the duomo hoping to be able to enter the 'fast line', only to find out that because the duomo is free to enter, we would have to wait in the longest line ever. We decided to take a rain check on that and climb the not free duomo dome. For all duomo-related sights, we first were required to visit the ticket office, show our Firenze cards, and be given separate tickets. Trust Italian bureaucracy to provide you with supplementary documents you don't really need. In the ticket office, it turned out that the 'fast line' was actually slower than the non-Firenze card line because a troubled lady had engaged the cashier in a drawn out and heated discussion. With everyone's tempers rising at the stalled lines, the cashier finally started to write out what looked to be a cheque. Or perhaps it was an epic poem. It took a long time. The seasons changed, the earth spun, and eventually the document was written. Both the cashier and the lady seemed pleased. Perhaps world peace had been solved in the interim.
Once we eventually emerged into the large expanse below us, we felt a little less cramped - only a little because we were stuck on a thin pathway around the edge of the dome with a smudged plexiglass wall separating us from a very long fall. Unfortunately this was the only good angle I could get from that vantage point - when pointing the camera upwards to the inner dome the plexiglass reflected the light badly. What we saw were beautifully painted scenes depicting heaven and hell, and all that goes between.
Like the ascent, it took a considerable time to make it back to the level of mortals once more. Quickly refuelling on Grom, we entered the battistero of the duomo.
After a cappuccino break, we carried on to the Palazzo Vecchio (the town hall, which overlooks the Piazza della Signora). Its name translates to "old palace", which is a bit of an understatement as it was opened in the year 1299. Fun fact: that was quite a long time ago. Its many rooms were filled with detailed frescoes and intricate floor mosaics.
Running out of time in the day, our last visit was to the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi which was the main residence of the Medicis until 1540.
Like many palaces, we walked through a magnificent inner courtyard where a policewoman was busily adjusting her helmet.
Upstairs we wandered through grand rooms where important historical conversations had been held. We quickly discovered that the palazzo was not simply a museum, but was also host to some kind of political conference - in one room there were chairs and a TV showing a live stream of some boring looking official proceedings where an Italian lady barked loud Italian things into a microphone. People who looked like politicians and reporters milled around and the volume was much too high. Police and guards also stood around signifying that there might have been important Italians in the vicinity.
Got peaches, went home.
Today's post was almost called: Give it Up For Dante's Dunk Bucket