Week 2: 6-12 October – Firenze & Lake Como
Starting the week in Firenze….
It rained overnight on Friday and with the weather forecast of all-day rain for Saturday, we decided not to take the 7.5km cycle out to do Parkrun. We chose instead to do a run from home, covering the same distance on foot, before running back to complete a 14km circuit. Whilst there was some rain, it was relatively light most of the way and we could hop in the shower to warm up as soon as we finished. It really did turn out to be a miserable day – we even cancelled our restaurant reservation and spent the evening in with a bottle of wine and a home cooked meal.
Sunday morning we were up early to Skype Glenda’s family in Australia – everyone was together as her brother Graeme and his wife Debbie, are visiting from South Africa. It would’ve been nice to be there, but a chat with everyone was a good second best!
The first Sunday of the month is free museum day – all national museums in Florence can be visited free of charge. As we’d both just read a book about Michelangelo’s creation of the famous David, even though we’d seen it last year, we were keen to visit it again. We had a new appreciation for the attention to detail, particularly the muscle definition and the intricate way in which the hands were carved. It was all sculpted from a single, huge piece of marble, unlike many of the sculptures that join pieces together. We also visited a restored palazzo that still had much of the original furniture and even contained old wooden toilet lids and ceramic hand warmers in the shape of shoes.
We took advantage of the opportunity to enter the Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapel) as we had walked past on many occasions but hadn’t been inside before. The Medici Chapels were completed in 1524 and form part of the monumental complex of San Lorenzo, the official church of the Medici family from their period in their palace nearby. It became their mausoleum and houses most of the family.
The chapels are divided into three distinct parts: the crypt, the Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes) and the New Sacristy. The crypt is the part where minor members of the dynasty were unceremoniously laid to rest. In the 19th century it was tidied up and now includes numerous tomb slabs. The Chapel of the Princes is truly magnificent and overwhelming – it has a huge dome and the marble detail of the walls and floor is unbelievable. Six of the Medici Grand Dukes are buried here. The New Sacristy was built by Michelangelo between 1520 and 1534, but he left Florence before completing all the sculptures.
After our most touristy day in Florence, we were exhausted and were happy to get home and put our feet up. Particularly as we knew we had to be up very early the following morning to catch our train to Milano.