The Uffizi Gallery is home to one of the most important art collection in the entire world. Started by Frances I de'Medici who housed the family collection on the second floor of the de'Medici Palace which was built between 1560 and 1580 (and I thought a 6 month renovation was tedious!!), it was continued by Ferdinand I de'Medici, who brought statuary from the de'Medici Palace in Rome.
The Uffizi Gallery illustrates the evolution of Florentine art, housing such important works as Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" and Michaelangelo's "The Holy Family". The sheer volume of art works in the Gallery is overwhelming and it's hard to believe that these works that are so old stand up so well to modern eyes. They are reflective of the standards of beauty of bygone ages and yet remain beautiful to us today.
I left the Uffizi somewhat overwhelmed and definitely saturated with Florentine art, but not above doing a little shopping! I headed to one of Florence's most famous open-air markets, the Ponte Vecchio.
The last of Florence's covered bridges, the Ponte Vecchio survived the bombing raids of World War II. Today, it is jammed with stalls selling gold and silver jewellery which replaced the meat stalls of Cosimo de'Medici's day.
I did a little strolling, a little looking and eventually, a little bargaining and left the area with earrings, a bracelet and a couple of chains.
It was dusk by the time I neared the Duomo, which had become the landmark for my little pension, but I was determined to stay awake long enough to sample some Italian cuisine. My landlady had recommended a little trattoria nearby -- at least, that's what I think she did. My phrase-book Italian wilted in the face of her machine-gun quick Italian which escalated in volume in direct proportion to the look of incomprehension on my face, so that every discourse ended with her bellowing at me good-naturedly. There was always a big smile at the end so I think she is just trying to be helpful, but to be honest, sometimes it's hard to tell!
I found the trattoria easily and sipped some hearty red wine while deciding which lovely pastas I would try. The waiter was thoroughly bewildered by my order of "due primi piatti" instead of the usual "un primo piatto" and "un secondo piatto" but I really wanted to try two pasta starters instead of the usual pasta starter and meat entrée. I had to chuckle as he walked away, shaking his head in obvious disapproval. Tourists!!