Tuesday, June 26th
This will come as a shock to you, we all woke up early – like 6:30am early with a 7am departure time for the 1.5hr drive into Florence. Driving in Florence is absurd – or so we read – so we decided to find a central parking garage and walk into the city center. We did not have advanced tickets for La Galleria dell’ Accademia where the famous David statue by Michelangelo resides, so we arrived early with the hope of snagging 9 last minute tickets without spending our entire day in line. Expert tip – get the tickets in advance – like months in advance. Lines wrapped around the building when we arrived at 8:20am. Lazy expert tip – tuck into the bookstore opposite of the gallery exit and see if there are same day tickets available. We were lucky! 9:45am entrance for all of us. Plus, in the bookstore is a coffee shop with excellent cappuccino and…wait for it…a donut just calling my name! Bonus – a clean -free- bathroom! Pretty great start to the day. I should mention that the “excellent coffee” still in no way compares to my coffee at home nor does it come close to the excellent coffee in NZ, so I think I should amend my statement to perfectly acceptable coffee that was much needed since we didn’t make any at the apartment before we left.
The Accademia has many great works and several sculptures, but David is the main attraction.
We spent about 45min in the gallery, and saw some people that were just in front of us in line before we tried the bookshop trick. They were still towards the back of the line. Small victories!
Walked the short distance over to the Duomo which also had monster lines wrapping around it. The Gates of Paradise doors on the baptistery were under construction and not really visible. We looked around in awe at the massive structure and marveled at its pink and green majesty, but simply couldn’t stand in line to go inside. We got gelato instead.
From there we hit Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, Piazza della Repubblica and several other places before heading back to try to get in early for our Uffizi Gallery entry time. The Uffizi can take 6hrs, I’ve done it in the past in about 2hrs and we knocked it out with 5 kids in 1hr. Then to our apartments for our last night in Tuscany. I don’t remember Florence being this crowded on my previous visits. I always remember loving Florence, but this time it just felt overrun with people bumping and pushing their way through the sites with little or no care for their importance or for catching site of the little things along the way. Perhaps it’s because we just spent the day there and weren’t able to enjoy a sunrise over the bridges and domes or the quiet calm that settles in after sunset and the daytrippers escape to the next destination. For me, on this trip, our time at Ormanni and seeing the places I had not seen before filled me with more enjoyment than Florence, and that made me a little sad to be honest.
We headed back to catch the last sunset at Ormanni before packing and preparing for our departure the next day. Picture perfect sunset and a beautiful wrap to our time in Tuscany!