Florence Day 1

Jan Leeming

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Date: 1st May 2010


General Walkaround and the only sunny day we had in a week.

I had booked two guided tours for the Uffizi and the Academia so we decided to spend our first day just wandering and familiarizing  ourselves with the city and all the wonders on offer.  We weren't to know that it would rain for the remainder of the week so I'm glad I took many photos.  I still felt the wonder that I'd experienced in the 70's when I looked at the Duomo, Giotto's Bell Tower, the Baptistry Doors and the Ponte Vechio which, when viewed from a distance,  gives you the feeling of being back in the Middle Ages.  Today the bridge is entirely given over to jewellers displaying the most fabulous wares.  Along the top of the shops is Vasari's Corridor (difficult to book a visit) which was designed and built so that the Medicis could walk from one palace, across the bridge to another of their palaces without having to mix with the 'common herd'.  The bridge used to be inhabited by butchers but the smell from the buchery was unpleasing to the Medicis so they were got rid of and instead jewellers were allowed to inhabit the houses/shops.

It is so difficult choosing just one photo out of the thousand or more that I took but I shall show you one of the most visited artefacts in the city - Il Porcellino (Italian 'piglet') is the local Florentine nickname for the bronze fountain of a boar found to the side of the Leather market very close to the Piazza della Signoria.  He is actually a copy - the real one sculpted by Pietro Tacca (1577 - 1640) being in the Uffizi. 

The legend goes that if you drop a coin down his snout into the grating and rub his nose - you will return to Florence.  Consequently his snout is burnished gold whilst the rest of his body is a dull patinated bronze.  I like him very much and went back several times to try and get a photo when there weren't dozens of people around him.  Finally  managed it so here goes.

The Florentine Boar and yours truly.








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