From Pisa to Florence is a short distance through Tuscan countryside
It’s there that we had a two day stopover at the Croce di Malta Hotel in the heart of Florence .. birthplace of the Renaissance. So much to see .. so little time on a tour.
Definitely a place to return to !!
Where do I begin !!! Interesting hotel .. walk-about with a local guide .. walk-about on our own .. Galleria dell’ Accademia – home to Michelangelo’s most famous work, David .. dinner with wine and music in the Tuscan countryside … .. .. … …
Driving through Florence ..
To compliment itineraries on tours, several ‘optional excursions’ are offered. One of them, on ‘Best of Italy’, is a guided tour of the Galleria dell ‘Accademia
Thank goodness for organised tours and pre-booked entries!! The Accademia’s entrance is on a narrow street, which was packed with people, making two or more queues it seemed liked. A little chaotic !!! .. but we were told to stand in a spot and not to move from there until we were ushered inside.
“The Academy of Fine Arts (Galleria dell’Accademia) founded in 1563, was the first school established in Europe specially to teach the techniques of drawing, painting and sculpture. The art collection displayed here was formed in 1784 to provide material for students to study and copy.”
“The most famous work is Michelangelo’s David (1504) a colossal (5.2m / 17ft) nude of the biblical hero who killed the giant Goliath. The sculpture was the commissioned by the city for Piazza della Signoria (where a copy now stands), but was moved to the Accademia for safe-keeping in 1873. “
What an amazing experience to stand, and walk around, and admire this perfect !!!! Amazing too, to think of those huge blocks of marble we saw in the marble-yards, can be transformed into something so beautiful, so perfect! David stands within a circular glass enclosure, protected from vandals, but close enough to see the smoothness of the marble, the smallest of detail, the perfection of the human form. No photography is allowed. We didn’t see much more as a tour group, as we were only allowed in the vicinity of Michelangelo’s David and surrounding artworks .. all of which were amazing! ( I tend to use that word often :) ! )
Our hotel in Florence .. Croce di Malta Hotel – a renovated convent! .. situated around the corner from Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Until mid 1800′s it was the old Suore della Carita (Sisters of Charity) Convent, which offered hospitality to Florence’s ‘ poor, virtuous maidens’ !!!
Breakfast area – we, as group, were at back on left …
Our ‘compact’ duplex room was facing Via della Scalla ..
There was a beautiful old writing bureau .. (I stood in the bathroom to take this pic!)
The rooftop terrace has wonderful views ..
Hubby and I had planned to have a drink on the rooftop terrace but, even though the view was amazing, a huge air conditioner unit was extremely loud. Skipping the drinks idea, we headed straight for a pavement café at Piazza Santa Maria Novella, spotted Bob and Connie already seated, and joined them for pizza .. and drinks! How stupid of me .. I didn’t take a photograph of the pavement cafés around the Piazza :(
Photos below - The next morning : Piazza and Santa Maria Novella .. built (1246-1360) on the site of a 9th century oratory .. the façade was completed by Leon Battista Alberti in 1470
Gorgeous roses ..
After our typically Italian food and wine .. delishhh :) hubby and I went for a short stroll before heading back to the hotel for a welcoming shower and bed!