Still not got round to writing up day 5, which was 2 days ago!
Had a lovely last day in Italy. We packed a lot in. We went to Palazzo Vecchio which is a Romanesque, crenellated fortress palace in the centre of Florence, which these days serves as the town hall. A lot of art inside. The entrance is in Piazza della Signoria (which you would be familiar with if you’ve seen the film A Room With a View).
I ended up splurging on stuff in the gift shop which was a day or so too late seeing as our bags were already packed and in the left-luggage at the hotel. I bought the 500 year centenary anniversary book of Michelangelo’s David (which I’ll blog about separately), a David poster and a David print (all quite cheap).From here we headed to the Boboli Gardens. These sit behind the Pitti Palace and are very pleasant to walk through. They date from the 16th century and there are many statues and follies and that kind of thing. The views across the city are good from here too, though not quite as sweeping as from the Piazza Michelangelo we’d been to a few days prior (click on the prior link to see the view as Wikipedia have a good photo there).
We had lunch in a really pretty little square, the name of which I’ve not forgotten. I had lasagne al forno for primi platti (first course) and then a mixed salad. This being Italy, I had a small jug of house white wine to wash it down with.
In the afternoon, stopping for gelato on the way, we went to Santa Maria Novella (church, built 1246-1360; the sheer age of these buildings in Florence is mind-blowing). A lot to see on the inside, from the stained glass to the frescoes. Most of it dates back to the 15th century. The most famous is the Holy Trinity, painted by Masaccio between 1425 and 1428.
And after that – it was, sadly, time to leave Florence. Our hotel was in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella so only a short walk from the church. We retrieved our luggage from the hotel, changed, then took a taxi to Florence airport. Fairly painless check-in and from there it was a 1 h 45 min flight back to London Gatwick where, to our surprise, the sun was beating down. It then took about an hour to get home, which wasn’t too bad. Was home by around 9pm.
And that’s it! That was my third trip to Italy in three years. It is such a magical place in so many ways. France and Spain and the other EU countries also have masses to offer. But there is something about Italy that I can’t quite put my finger on that is truly spellbinding and I will always keep going back.