We had our first full day in Florence, and what an awesome and beautiful day it was. The weather was still perfect - warm and sunny, but not too hot; definitely short-sleeve weather. We went to the Bargello, one of my favorite buildings in Florence, which in the middle ages was the police station/local jail. Now it houses an array of beautiful sculptures rather than prisoners, including one of my favorites: Donatello's bronze, super flamboyant David.
After the Bargello we strolled over to Santa Croce, which has always been one of my favorite churches in Florence. Most people reading this probably already know about the cast of famous characters whose remains are housed in fancy tombs here (Dante, Michaelangelo, Galileo, etc...), but it's an all around cool chiesa, and I even like the 19th century facade, even though some people loathe it. There was also a woman cleaning one of the engravings for one of the graves on the floor, which was kind of cool to see.
After a tasty lunch at home of mozzarella, tomato, and basil sandwiches, we strolled through the Oltrarno, wandered aimlessly, lounged in some piazzas, and checked out a few potential restaurants.
Sadly, the restaurant we went to tonight, Le Mossacce, turned out to be a disaster. For some reason, this place gets rave reviews on Chowhound and Slow Travel, and it was even full of actual Italians, but we both thought the place was molto terribile. Bland pasta, including a dish advertised on the menu as tagliatelle, but which was actually dried lasagna sheets cut in half. The grand insult was the stewed rabbit the waiter recommend when he told me they were out of Ossobuco. The rabbit was as tough as a tire, and was poorly butchered, so that with each bite I had to pull tiny slivers of bone out of my mouth, one of which nearly went down my throat. Not fun!
Luckily, we capped off the night at Gelateria dei Neri, the best gelateria in Florence. I love that two people can get pure magic on a cone for less than 4 euros. I had the usual: chocolate and hazelnut, while Terezia had the strawberry with lemon. Both were heavenly.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that yesterday, starved after being fed nothing but an apple on our flight from Vienna to Florence, we each had a piccante lampredotto panino from the tripe stand near Dante's house. I hadn't had one of these since the last trip to Florence in 2007, so my palette was overjoyed to be reunited with its juicy, rich, fatty, cow intestinal goodness!
Plenty more photos taken of Florence this week can be found here!