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September 23-26

Post-Tour - Florence, Venice & Home

An example of how the whole cells look with the frescos
A great shot of Santa Maria del Fiore that we got between San Marco and lunch
Requisite wine photo!
Carved Ivory panel from the Bargello's religious collection
Yet another David.
This one is by Verrocchio.
Neptune Fountain
Goldsmiths on Ponte Vecchio. 

September 23:

We've got a lot more to do in Florence. First up, the Museo San Marco. The taxi driver said "Excellent choice! No lines. Very beautiful!" when he dropped us off and he was right. The museum was once a Dominican monastery and the monk's cells are decorated with beautiful frescos by Fra Angelico, an early Renaissance painter. It's stunning work meant for quiet contemplation by the monks who lived there.

One of the neat things about the Annunciation fresco is that it is set in the courtyard of the monastery. The painting seems to glow with the pastel colors and the mica mixed into the paints.


We had lunch as Osteria Pastella where the specialty is an amazing truffle pasta. First they light a giant wheel of parmasan cheese on fire. Then they scrape up the softened cheese and dump in noodles and cream. They twirl everything up and top it with shaved truffles. Yum!

The afternoon was dedicated to the Bargello Museum. If you were wondering why there isn't much statuary in the Uffizi other than ancient Greek and Roman statues, it's because they moved most of the Renaissance statuary over to the Bargello Museum! The big draw is the works by Donatello, but there are plenty of other masters as well. And there are also collections of glass, ceramics, and weaponry.

Above we have Florence Dominating Pisa, Mercury with Michelangelo's Bacchus in the background 
and Mom with Donatello's David and St. George in the background.

The museum has an entire room dedicated to Donatello, including the originals or St. George and his bronze David which is famous for being the first free-standing bronze male nude since antiquity. Also I am tickled that we found this elaborate giant fan that matches our MVP!

We stopped by the Loggia dei Lanzi for a little more sculpture. Then we window shopped across the Ponte Vecchio. After that, we moved our stuff to our apartment rental. We had dinner at Antico Ristoro di Cambi across the Arno and called it a night.

Outside of San Marco
There is also an excellent collection of illuminated manuscripts.
Dessert was a deconstructed tiramisu.
Courtyard of the
Bargello Museum
by Giambologna
One of the coolest things in the collection is the original bronze panels submitted by Ghiberti and Brunelleschi for the Baptistry
door contest.
Mom with the Arno.
Arno at night.
We're here! The train is crossing the causeway into Venice!
Winged Lion and Celestial Clock on St. Mark's Square

September 24:

Wow! What an end to our trip! We were up early to take the first train out of Florence so we could arrive at 9:00 and get in as much Venice as possible. We could not have had more perfect weather for our day in Venice. Blue skies with fluffy clouds and finally some temperatures around 70 degrees. Picture postcard, travel magazine perfect weather! First things first, we took Mom on the vaporetto down the Grand Canal!

Boats along the Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge.
Gondoliers near St. Mark's

The vaporetto drops you off in St. Mark's Square. Since it was Sunday, the Basilica didn't open until 2 pm. We took some photos in the square and meandered through the narrow streets of Venice back toward Rialto bridge. We bought some cameos and some hand made glass ornaments, did a bunch more window shopping and bar hopped for cicchetti.

Window shopping for glass art.
Wandering the narrow streets
of Venice.

Eventually it was time to head back to the square for our tour of San Marco Basilica. It really is like no other church I've ever been to. The with the gold and glass mosaics, the interior glows! Pictures don't really do it justice. We saw the Pala d'Oro and the bronze horses. Of course, St. Mark and his winged lion are every where.

And if you are going to go to Venice, you really do have to splurge for that gondola ride!

We finished off the day with dinner along the canal, pizza and caprese salad, before catching the train back to Florence. 

A perfect end to our vacation in Italy.

My beautiful cameo I bought from Eredi Jovon on Rialto Bridge
Exterior of St. Mark's
Exterior of St. Mark's
This is probably as close a shot that I could get of how the interior looks.
The winged lion of St. Mark
Detail on the Pala d'Oro
When we were here on our honeymoon it was pouring rain!
Enjoying our gondola ride!
Tim asleep on the train back to Florence. We've done a lot the last few days!
Our gondolier was great! He had a ton of info about the places along the route.
Kisses on the vaporetto on our way back to the train station.
Oh yes, the weather was too bad to fly today.

September 25:

Well that wasn't how I planned for that day to go at all.

While we were getting breakfast, we got a text saying our flight out of Florence was cancelled due to "weather" and we would be put on a bus and fly out of Pisa instead. 

Things went a bit awry after our delicious breakfast.
We are skeptical of your bus and your excuses.

Despite assurances from the airport staff that we would be able to make our connection in Heathrow, the plane departed over an hour later than scheduled from Pisa. On a brighter note, the skies were so clear that I could see Cinque Terre from the air and we also passed over the Matterhorn!

At least the drive is pretty?
Gin and tonic with strawberry gin made especially for the Ostrich!
The matterhorn-Resize.jpg

So yeah, we didn't make our connection. Instead, we got to spend the night at Heathrow. At least, they were forced to give us a hotel for the night. It was too late to try to go into London, but we did manage to find a traditional pub for food and beer.

The best bit about my random pub choice, apparently it was a murder inn back in the day!

September 26:

It was 60 degrees and raining when we landed in Seattle and I was so incredibly exited to see it. Fortunately, Tim and I had scheduled the 26th off, so the flight trouble didn't completely mess up our schedule, just ate up our planned rest day. Nonetheless, it was still an incredible vacation and we are beat now. Enjoy the picture of our loot. 

Thanks for joining our trip. If you want more photos, continue on to the Fun with Art section. If you are planning your own trip, check out our Travel Tips.

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