Festival and freebies.

Trip Start Apr 24, 2013
Trip End Jun 04, 2013

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What I did
Uffizi Gallery

Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Monday 29 April- Day 6

Grocery shopping ltalian style - We  had been to little corner store type places in Rome but today we went to a bigger suburban one.  A little overwhelming. Navigated our way around figuring out what things were. Love listening to the locals but have no idea what they are saying. 

Florence is known for leather goods and so we headed to the leather markets after lunch. They line the streets surrounding San Lorenzo. There are also many shops selling bags, shoes and coats all through Florence. We walked up and down the market stalls searching for bags and other things we had been asked to get. All very confusing but in the end we made our purchases. I'd love to spend more time looking for that special bag or shoes but it was all to much for my brain to handle.

So we ate our homemade sandwiches sitting on some steps nearby. Kept searching to find the right bag that Maddie wanted to buy for Meg. Totally exhausted by our effort we decided we needed a coffee and found a little place right in the square of San Lorenzo. Nice Italian looking place. But we did not heed the advice of a young tour guide back in Rome  – Do not eat at any place that looks out to a famous building or monument. It will be way more expensive. So we spent way more than we wanted to. Like l have said before, we are really learning as we go.

After this we needed a cultural experience and visited the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, which is commonly called The Duomo. What an amazing building. It is highly decorated on the outside. We were able to go in without queuing. Stunning inside too.

Had the best souvlaki from the shop down the street from the apartment for dinner. Cost about $5 each. Bargain. Ok so it's not Italian food and we need to get some local advice about where to eat.

 Tuesday 30 April - Day 7

Before breakfast we walked to park across other side of the river from where we are staying. I was expecting a traditional food market but it had a few stalls of fruit, veg and deli goods and most of the rest was junky clothes, shoes and other stuff. The stalls meander through a beautiful park that runs alongside the river. We walked about 2km there and back.

Mid morning Maddie. Jack and l headed back to town to find some more leather goods. Bought a couple more things. While we were gone Tim braved the supermarket on his own. We wanted to make sure we had food for the next day because we had been told everything would be shut due to a holiday.

When we arrived on Sunday our host told us that this was a week of festival in Florence. We had been to the food, wine and arts festival on Sunday and now we were looking forward to Notte Bianca (White Night). For most of the day and evening all the museums, galleries and churches are free to get into. Many things are open all night until the next morning which is a holiday called International Workers Day.

We walked towards Florence on our side of the river.  Crossed at Ponte Vecchio bridge which is something straight out of  a mediaeval fairy take.
After 7pm we could get in to the Uffizi Gallery Museum for free. We managed to be close to the front of the queue and were allowed in about 7.15. We had to go through security tighter than an airport. On a normal day you can queue for up to 3 hours unless you pay more and book  a special entry time. We were blessed to only wait a little over an hour.

We enjoyed it but we did not know a lot of the artists. There is so much to look at. If I were going again l would research a little more. Really enjoyed seeing Boticelli's Birth of Venus and Spring.  We all came out with one or two favourites to discuss. The highlight for me was seeing a painting l did a study on in year 12. I wrote a paper on famous women artists and compared Caravaggio´s ´Judith beheading Holofernes' with Artimesia Gentileschi´s painting 'Judith slaying Holofernes´ It was amazing seeing Artimesia´s painting in real life. 

We came out after 9pm to streets full of people. There were street performers, activities for kids to do and shops and food places open. It had an amazing carnival atmosphere. It was great walking around soaking in the atmosphere. We loved being there. I would definitely come back to Florence at this time of the year.

Wednesday 1St May - Day 8
 Rest day  - washing, reading, computer time etc......until Tim discovered the train ticket I thought was dated 5/5/13 was actually dated 4 April. So we interrupted our rest day and went to train station to sort it out. Had to buy a whole new ticket for that leg of the journey. Oh well. My neighbour helped me book the trains and she got it down $1000 less than the travel agent quoted us. We checked and checked and checked the dates and times but in the end we missed this one. So glad we discovered it a week out from the trip and not the day we travel. Maybe l should call our trip 'Rich Family Misadventures.´ :)

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