Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 11: Florence, Italy....A Day of Gorgeous Museums!

Ciao! Day 11 was another fabulous day in the gorgeous city of Florence, Italy. It was kicked off with a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel - prosciutto, salami, croissants, boiled eggs, peaches, and coffee...yum! After breakfast, we grabbed our Florence map and headed towards the Uffizi Gallery to see some amazing artwork. The concierge at the hotel was nice enough to make us a reservation. So, once we walked to the gallery we could spend our extra time taking photos of the square instead of standing in line. The gallery was very pretty. I was most excited about seeing Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" and "Primavera", as well as Titian's "Venus of Urbino" and several works by Da Vinci. I love Botticelli's work. He's known for his beautiful faces, and I can certainly see why. His paintings were even larger than I had expected.

Uffizi Gallery! They didn't allow any photography in the Florence museums...I wish we could have taken some photos...then I would have more to share with you!

After walking through the entire gallery, we were pretty hungry so we started looking for a place to eat. After browsing several restaurant menus, we decided to try a place called "Gusto Leo." Brad and I both ordered pizza with prosciutto, mushrooms, artichokes and olives. You hear about the great pizza in Italy, and all the rumors are true....real Italian pizza is unbelievable!!! The main difference is probably the fact that they don't pile on the sauce and other toppings. Plus, the ingredients always taste fresh and the dough is perfectly thin. When you have great, fresh ingredients, maybe less is more! I washed mine down with some "Coca Cola Light," of course.
Pizza "4 Stagioni"...our FAVORITE! I can't wait to share my recipe for this in the next post!
Once we were finished with lunch, we explored the city a little while longer and then made a pit stop at the hotel so Brad could leave his camera gear in the room...that stuff gets heavy after a while! Once we did that, we made our way over to the Academy Gallery to meet Michelangelo's "David" for the first time. Wow...he is A LOT taller than I expected! I guess I thought he would be more life-size, but he is huge! It was really cool! It blows my mind that artists could take a ginormous piece of marble and carve it into something so beautiful and life-like. Michelangelo's "Slaves" were also really neat to see.

Back in the hotel courtyard...

Next, we walked the streets of Florence some more. We loved simply roaming the streets - it was one of our favorite things to do in Europe if we had time. In Florence, there weren't quite as many things to see and do (say, compared with Paris), so it was a little more relaxing. We knew we'd need that extra energy for our next stop - ROME!
I love these cars!
This cute little dog was wandering the streets with a cone on his head...poor little guy!
This was on the side of a building...pretty funny!
A gorgeous wedding window display...

That night, we had dinner at a great little cafe right on a piazza called "Caffe Concerto." It's the oldest cafe in Italy. It was built on what used to be the Roman Forum...pretty neat, huh? The food was fabulous! I had the Gnocchi with mozarella and basil. Brad had the tagliatelle pasta - Bolognese style. Of course, we shared a bottle of red wine to complete the meal. There was a carousel in the middle of the piazza, so it was fun to watch that and all the people going by while we ate.
Tagliatelle alla Bolognese
(Tagliatelle bolognese style)
Gnocchi di Patate alla Sorrentina Salsa di Pomodoro, Mozzarella, Basilico
(Potato dumplings with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil)

Next, we explored the streets yet again and got some gelato and some lattes/expresso for dessert. The gelato was divine...every single time we got some. We had a scoop of chocolate, coffee and tiramisu - perfect!

After dessert, it had gotten really cold outside (and late!), so we headed back to the hotel...we needed to get an early start the next day. Rome, here we come!


Memória said...

*sigh* All these posts are making me miss Italy haha. I cannot wait to go back. I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip to Roma!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Your posts are fabulous!
I leave for Bella Italia in 2 weeks. I will be in Rome for a week with friends who are getting married, then off to Montisi (in Tuscany) to do the cooking in a villa of travelers for a couple of weeks.
My last weekend will be in Florence. You have given me some great ideas for places to eat.

What's Cookin Chicago said...

Gorgeous pics and I'm looking forward to your pizza post! That pizza looks amazing!!