Tuesday, November 30, 2010

last days...

Our last few days in our lovely farmhouse were spent either there in front of the fire or in Florence.

On Thursday 25th, I took two grumpy teenagers to the Uffizi Gallery and the concurrent Carravaggio exhibition while G wandered the streets and drank hot chocolates with the little ones..
The Gallery was wonderful....the grumps were more intent on fighting with each other which was a shame because they were a distraction to themselves and me. However, despite them breaking the audiophone, all of us could not help but take in the amazing collection of art.
Stand out sights were the Luccis and the Botticellis (esp the the Birth of Venus which always had a huge crowd of Japanese tourists in front of it)....Chiara loved his 'La Primavera' and the Carravagios
Cas liked Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation  and Cararavaggio's 'Head of Medusa' on the shield...
I need another day in there with no kids....

Here our some of our favourite things in Florence:

 Christmas decorations in COIN

Walking along the Arno behind the Uffizi.......the Italians like their mopeds...
And just around about......

The school children are so frisky compared to ours!

This is a stop sign that has had some clever stickers applied ....in Florence.
There was also a fantastic umbrella man fountain in the centre of a roundabout  banished to the outskirts of Florence..we passed him every time we came in and every time we left.....I tried to get a photo but we were always zooming around too fast with someone behind us....

On Saturday, just as we were leaving beautiful Florence for the last time. George spotted a shop called '_Malloni' and suggested I take a look.
I came out an hour later with two beautiful pairs of boots, a dress, a winter jacket and a gilet. :)
George had bought Florentine chocolates for everyone whilst they waited for me and we all drove home happy for our last night in Casale le Vigne

Casale le Vigne

Here are some images/details our beautiful home in Tuscany..
Originally only intending to be here for a week, we have stayed two....from the 13th November through to the 27th. It has been our home base after all our adventures; so central and always so lovely to come back to.

 the house

olive trees
 the view!

Master bedroom

'office' with view to olive groves

Dove cot - Cas and Eve's room

Chiara doing her homework, looking out at the olive groves.

'Zara' the dog

Olive picking along our driveway.
We saw glimpses of deer along here too, coming home at night.

Monte Secchieta with snow

Alessando and Elenor, our hosts

we did love it here.


Tuesday 24th a beautiful sunny, (cold) day, we piled into the car and drove south to Sienna. As usual, we were obliged to park on the outskirts of town, outside the city walls and walk into the old centro.

We soaked up the sunshine in the famous 'Campo'

and then Chiara, Cas, Annick and I waited our turn to climb the Torredi Mangia in the Palazzo Pubblico. They seemed to only let 6 people up at a time, so skinny and steep were the stairs.

But the views from the top were wonderful

We could see George and Eve sitting at the fountain below.

At 2pm, we tower's bells chimed the hour as we were standing directly beneath them which gave as all a fright!

We went to the Duomo

And when we came out, it was dark, freezing and had started to rain......
so we hot-footed it to the nearest cafe and bought hot chocolates to warm ourselves up (making good use of the two-tiered coffee tables) and a paneforte to try when we got home.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Duomo in Florence

Monday 23rd, after lunch at our farmhouse we drove back into Florence and parked in George's excellent (free) parking spot of 20 years prior in Ortoarno near Porta San Niccolo and walked across the Arno into town.

Today we climbed Brunelleschi's dome.

Seriously skinny steps.....

scary, vertiginous views and a lovely sunset...

We watched the sun go down behind the hills and all the city lights come on.
Just as we entered the stairwell to descend the tiny stairs running over the top of the cupola, the city bells started to chime the hour...only 5pm.

We crossed the piazza in the dark to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo which is the Museum housing the original statues on the facade of the building along with relics of the construction of the cathedral and traces it's story and architecture.

The strange Madonna with the glass eyes who used to sit above the entry to the church.

Michaelangelo's 'Pieta', intended for his own tomb

Models of the Cupola, the various proposals for the new facade, and the death mask of the architect.....


We then made the mistake of going to a restaurant; 'La Casalinga' recommended by our Tuscan guide book as excellent and devoid of tourists. Disaster. Had a very average meal surrounded by english speakers who had obviously read the same guide.

Got home very late, lesson learnt.