Monday, 7 January 2013

A Full Family Day

It was an early start as we had a rope drop event to attend. We arrived at the Accademia Gallery, a converted convent, just before the opening time of 8:15am to be one of the firsts in line. After passing through security and purchasing tickets, we had the luxury of gawking at Michelangelo's David with no one else around us. Unfortunately, the museums that we visited today including The Accademia did not allow photography so I have inserted an image from the internet. The details in David, the biblical hero, were phenomenal. Michelangelo chiselled away free hand from front to back to create him. It would take him more than two years his masterpiece.

Waiting in the cold at the Accademia Gallery for the museum to open

This is not my photo but one taken from the internet of David
As the Gallery was quite small and there were low crowds, we were able to work through Rick Steve's Guide very quickly. It was then off to the San Lorenzo markets to ogle at some leather goods. We wanted to enter the nearby Basilica San Lorenzo which was unfortunately not open to the public today. The Medici Chapel, a part of the complex of which Basilica San Lorenzo belonged to, was open. In it were buried many Medicis, including the Grand Dukes themselves in the magnificent Chapel of Princes. The Chapel of Princes was rather different in that it featured coloured marble everywhere which gave it its details. Lara stared for several , fascinated, before proudly announcing that she had found two hidden Mickeys.

Once again, we saw works by Michelangelo inside. We ended our morning with a simple lunch, our daily dose of gelato and walked back to our apartment to welcome the my parents, my brother, my cousin and my aunt. The children waited patiently by the window for two taxis to come by. They shouted out big hellos when they arrived, and ran down the stairs to greet them. It was so nice to meet up with everyone.

The San Lorenzo markets

Basilica di San Lorenzo with the dome of the Medici Chapel visible in the background

No photographs inside :(

Time for our daily gelato dose courtesy of Nana and Grandpa

There was no time to waste as we had to make our way to the Palazzo Pitti Palace across the Arno River. What we didn't know was that in celebration of the Epiphany, there was a "Calvacade of Three Kings". This ancient celebration has taken place in Florence for over 600 years! It marked the arrival of the Three Kings to the manger where Jesus was born. There was a parade of people dressed in beautiful renaissance costumes. They started from the Palazzo Pitti to the Cathedral. We just followed the parade all the way to our destination, no map needed! Thank you to the local who took the time to explain all this to us! It was great to have 3 more cameras snapping away which meant I could actually enjoy the parade.

Everyone is here! Minus me, taking this photo, and Ryuji, who was on the bridge taking photos of view...

Feast of Epiphany

Someone is happy to have another set of grandparents around...

Ah...didn't take Grandpa long to start chatting to the people in the parade!

Beautiful costumes, all different!

The resident monk and the guards

The hawk person...

Even children were in the parade


My brother was brave enough to take this photo so I thought I'd put it in the blog...

The Palazzo Pitti was the residence of the ruling Medici family and housed their amassed treasury including paintings and sculptures. From the Palazzo, we could see out to the Boboli Gardens where an obelisk found in the tomb of Ramses II stood...In sumptuous rooms, we saw Boticellis, Rafaels, Rubens, and much more. We walked back and ate a local eatery near our apartments. Freshly made focaccias and help yourself wine just outside the shop made for some happy family members. Payment was based purely on an honour system. The owner asked how many glasses we had AFTER we had drunk the wine...Dinner for the whole tribe only cost a mere 60 euros and we had focaccias to spare!

Palazzo Pitti - Don't let the simple exterior fool you...

The sprawling troops....Keeping everyone together was like herding sheep! Lara now in charge of Opa's camera

It appeared the calvacade returned to the Palazzo Pitti so time to look at the bits that we missed the first time!

More photographers means more photos of me!

Ordering the food in the tiny shop

Looking at the man making the focaccias

Malcolm laying down the law as to how dinner was going to work. Everyone listened to the golden boy who could do no wrong...

Opa content

Eating like the locals

My cashmere purchase today. 15 euros!

Leather belt

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