Saturday, May 12, 2012
We are in Firenze tonight. The difference between Roma and Firenze is that Firenze is manageable. You can actually walk around without having to Dodge speeding buses. Most of the downtown is closed to traffic. It is also quieter and less congested. It took about 90 minutes to get here on the new bullet train. We left Roma from the station and traveled through the countryside at 250 km/hr. We checked into our motel and have the penthouse suite (yes Marianne I'm actually staying above the second floor). We then started off to climb the "duomo" of the biggest church in Firenze. We snaked our way up the 900 plus steps to the top of the dome. The passage was about two feet wide and some of the way it was as steep as a ladder. We walked around the base of the dome which was covered in a marvelous fresco depicting Dante's Inferno. Then we went to visit Ben's friends at the consulate. We had a great time with them. The U.S. has a consulate here because Ferenze is a college town with about 30,000 U.S. students. Of course those wild and crazy kids seem to get into a fair share of jams that require the help of the State Department. later we dragged our sorry butts to Uffizi Art Galleria. The Uffizi was crowded and not air conditioned. We also got stuck in an elevator with a couple from Sacramento. Finally after about twenty minutes of waiting for help to arrive we pryed the doors open and escaped. All was not a loss because after getting out of our steamy elevator we found the exhibit with three Caravaggio's. Then Ben a bought a leather jacket(Firenze is the leather capital of Italy). Dinner starts here about 1930 so we went out for Thai Food. Ben is out seeing one of his State Dept. friends and CP and I are out on the patio looking at the duomo. Florence is to Rome what San Francisco used to be to New York. It sure isn't as daunting.