A night at the museum.

Jumping around a little bit here, but that's just how it goes.

A perfect way to cap off our stay in Florence, our visit to the Uffizi ended up being quite the evening affair. We arrived at 6:30pm and didn't leave until after eight 'o' clock, and still we weren't able to see everything in the gallery. The Uffizi houses some of the most treasured pieces from the collection of art owned or commissioned by the Medici family during the height of their power. The museum is made up of two floors, with the main booty being upstairs in and off of the two long hallways. Each hallway is lined with busts of prominent Roman figures, either real or reproduction. Above these, and set just below the ceiling are portraits of the rich and famous, including various members of the Medici family. The windows on one side of the corridors look down into the courtyard, while the rooms on the other side are filled, sometimes to the ceiling, with paintings of the highest quality. 

Even if you aren't an art aficionado, you will have heard of many of the artists who have works in the gallery. Aside from the biggest names (Boticelli, Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael, etc, etc, etc.), I think my favorites were among the Lippis. I didn't try to sneak any photos this time, but there would have been no point. No photo that I would have taken could have accurately portrayed the beauty of the paintings, especially as the big names were all behind plexiglass. You're better off just doing a google image search for the Birth of Venus, if you want to see it.

Afterwards we meandered back toward a street near our hotel that we had discovered the evening before. Situated in San Lorenzo, the street was full of little, independent eateries that seemed, somehow, less touristy than the more prominent areas. We had seen this fish restaurant the night before and, while at first it seemed a bit odd, after passing it a few times we decided to go for it - and wound up enjoying one of the best meals of all of our time in Italy. The fish theme was very present in the restaurant, with frescos of sirens capturing sailors and other fishing parephenlia on the walls. The best part about it was that it seemed relatively unknown, except perhaps to the locals, so it was easy to get a table. I won't tell you the name because I am selfish and would prefer for it to stay a little bit of a secret, but I'm sure that if you try hard enough you can find it :P

On our way back to the hotel I insisted that we stop at a gelateria on the same street, that we had also stumbled upon the night before. The Antica Gelateria Fiorentina - I will tell you the name of this place, because gelato places can never get too busy (famous last words) - sits rather inconspicuously amongst the surrounding cafes, with two unimposing benches dimly lit by a small, overhead streetlight. The prices are low and the portions generous, but it is the unique flavors that make this gelateria really stand out. I tried Ambrosia (with yogurt, honey, and cinnamon), and the wonderfully complex Cuor di Pardula (with ricotta, orange and lemon peel, and saffron), as well as a couple of the more traditional flavors - which were equally outstanding. They also boasted a Matcha Tea variety, as well as one called Persiano (rose water, pistachio, saffron and frozen cream). 

Obviously after finding this place, I ended each night with a heavenly cup packed with at least two flavours. I tasted many a fine gelato on Lake Garda, and have since tried many more, but this place still remains at the top of the list for me.

Love and sweet, sweet gelato dreams.


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