Published: June 18th 2017
This weekend, as a big group, we went to Florence and Siena. We got up early Friday morning and returned around dinner time on Sunday.
Once we arrived at the hotel we were staying at, Palazzo Ricasoli, we got our room assignments and headed straight for the air conditioning. In our dorms at JFRC there is no AC, so imaging it being in the 90s with no air flow or AC. After we were settled, my art class headed for the Galleria della Accademia, where we saw the David sculpture by Michaelangelo. Standing 17 feet tall, David was the center of attention in this museum.
After the museum, we had free time for the rest of the day. For lunch, we grabbed a quick bite at La Menagere, which was the cutest rustic restaurant. We then went to the San Lorenzo Markets, where leather and ceramics are sold. The line of tents were endless, and it almost felt like I was back in NYC in Chinatown bargaining for the best price for leather purses, wallets, and more. Florence is known for their leather and we were told to inspect before we buy because if there is a stamp
that says “Florence” in the leather, then it is authentic.
For dinner, we wanted to embrace the meat that Florence is also known for. We went to a restaurant called Perseus, where we all ordered a beef filet because that is what the waiter said was most popular. He was not wrong, the filet was cooked and seasoned to perfection. I could not let this go to waste, so even when I was full, I finished my filet.
After dinner, we went to a gelato place called Le Botteghe di Leonardo. Again, I cannot eat the gelato, so I ordered a granita, which was very refreshing.
I woke up early to climb to bell tower at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Sadly, the tickets to climb to the top of the duomo were all sold out. However, I still got my steps in, 415 to be exact. Once we reached the top, there was an amazing view of the duomo and the city. It was breathtaking!
After, the ticket I purchased to climb the bell tower allowed me to see other parts of the Cathedral. I saw the baptistery and inside the cathedral
and the dome.
We met up with the rest of the group at
the Galleria Degli Uffizi. My art class spent roughly 4 1/2 hours in this museum, and my feet were on fire from standing so long. In this museum, we saw some original Caravaggio paintings, Leonardo da Vinci’s unfinished “Adoration of Magi,” which was just recently preserved. We also saw a few of Botticelli’s famous works, such as The Birth of Venus, and one of Michaelangelo’s paintings.
After spending A LOT of time in the museum, a group of us went back to the leather markets and made some lay minute purchases before going back to the hotel and taking a nap.
Dinner as a group dinner at Osteria de Pazzi. The program has been going to this restaurant every year since it began 21 years ago. One of my professors and the owner are very close friends, and he always marks on the calendar when Xavier is coming, and closes the restaurant for us. This dinner has been the best dinner to date. There were 6 different appetizers, 3 pastas, a chicken dish, sides, and dessert. Over the span of 3 1/2 hours, we
ate, chatted, and drank wine. The owner was so happy, singing when he brought out new dishes and playing jokes on us. I had the best time enjoying the food and the company.
After spending two days in Florence, we headed close by to Siena. We had free time to explore the city ourselves. First, we stopped into St. Catherine of Siena to see partial remains of St. Catherine. Then, we just wandered and stopped at different shops. Siena is known for their soaps and ceramics, and it was very interesting how ceramic and soap shops were set up right next to another.
Siena is divided into neighborhoods, all with different flags and holidays. While we were walking around, we heard what sounded like a parade. We walked to the square, and one of the neighborhoods was twirling flags and drumming. It was very interesting to see this community come together to display their pride and identity.
For lunch, we went to Osteria Il Vicolo. I ordered a pasta dish with pici pasta, typical Tuscan noodles. The noodles are my favorite noodles that I have had in Italy. After lunch, we went to see the Siena
Cathedral. Both churches, Florence duomo and Siena duomo, are so vibrant and the materials used are not the typical church building materials. Our time in Siena came to a quick close, and we headed back to Rome.
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