Our first stop was the Palazzo Vecchio.
This is a secret room off the main salone.
A Donatello in one of the apartment rooms of Elenora, wife of Cosimo de' Medici. You can get a nice tour here.
From there we wandered over the Ponte Vecchio.
I just found out that love locks will get you a ticket, so we definitely didn't leave one anywhere on one of the most romantic spots in Florence.
Later in the evening we decided to check out Giotto's Tower, the bell tower of the Duomo. Given that it was after dark, in the off season, and a little rainy and cold, we had the whole thing almost completely to ourselves. It's over 400 steps to the top with terraces to stop along the way. Emily had a blast climbing the stairs with Daddy and checking the doors along the way for ghosts.
The following morning we walked over to a small cafe for a traditional breakfast of pastries and espresso, peeked in the Baptistry and Duomo then made our way over to Santa Croce.
Emily's favorite part of the day was jumping in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig.
This is the tomb of Michelangelo. This is one of those things I still can't believe I can just go see. There it is, the tomb of one of the masters of the Renaissance, no big deal!
There is a small chapel on the church grounds that Cody really wanted to see. Emily was getting worn out and asked if we could go back to the hotel instead. The hotel! We were so absorbed in our little outing before checkout that we completely forgot to return and at 5 to 11, we decided to call in for a late checkout-no dice! Check out was not at the usual 11, but rather 1030. We scooped up Emily and ran through the streets of Florence, shoved everything into our backpacks and scrambled up the stairs to the reception desk where a very kind man apologized to us. The other clerk forgets to tell people all the time. Thank god. Whew. Breathe. No double charge or berating. Florence, why must you be so beautiful and distracting?
Back in the Duomo neighborhood, we walked over to Basilica of San Lorenzo. It's the resting place of several of the Medici family, and the family crest can be seen everywhere.
This is the Old Sacristy inside the basilica. It was built by Brunelleschi. The Decoration is the work of Donatello.
With some time to kill we had a good lunch and wandered around, pretty much churched out. We took a long break some time after that at McDonald's, tired and out of things we wanted to or could do. It was too cold and wet for any of the outdoor kid stuff I bookmarked but we still had a few hours to kill. We eventually walked back out to the street. Huh. One of those dumb, tacky red sightseeing buses. And it leaves in one minute. And no one is on board. And it returns at exactly the time we need to be back at the train station across the street. And it goes past the very last place Cody wanted to see that we weren't going to get to because of the rain and distance. Fine, I suppose we could lower ourselves to such measures. I stayed on the lower deck to chill out with the audio guide while they hung out on the open top deck. We saw Galileo's house, Piazzale Michelangelo, the broad avenues that replaced the historic ghetto and city walls, and the English cemetery in the center of a roundabout where the likes of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and other famous foreigners of the 19th century are buried. It was a nice way to see the major points of the city and take some weight off my back, but I'm still not proud of using a tourist trap bus!
So that was our second trip to Firenze. Romantic, not too crowded, and fascinating as ever.