VISITING FLORENCE PART II
Today we were lucky enough to be invited to the Meydan race in Pisa. The Meydan endurance cup is a horse race of 120 chilometres. This race is organised and funded by the royal family of Dubai, including the sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and his crowned prince.
We arrive to the event around 11 o clock and enter a marquee with a gigantic buffet. The food varied from cheeses to eggs, bacon, mozzarella, ecc. Of course we couldn't help but help ourselves to this exquisite variety of food. After a little while, the Royal Sheikh arrives followed by his son, it was such an honourable moment.
Time flew by and before we knew it we were sat down again attending our lunch. The chefs brought out an enormous grilled fish, and a plate of spaghetti with seafood. As for beverages, there was a range of fresh juices out of which I chose watermelon. I had never had it before so I must admit I was a bit reluctant, but it was so refreshing and perfect for such a hot day. There was also a wide selection of patisserie which I couldn’t stop indulging myself into it.
After a few hours of enjoying the beautiful countryside, tasting saffron flavoured ice cream and filling myself up with chocolate, we decided to return to Florence but quickly stopping to take a few photos of the leaning tower of Pisa.
In the evening we ate in a restaurant we discovered whilst walking Saturday night. It is called the Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco, famous for its selection of wild bore delicacies. The restaurant was packed with people so we waited a few minutes for a table. The manager offered us a glass of prosecco for the wait which was very kind. When we sat down, we ordered as a starter a selection of wild bore cold meats. The taste of this particular meat is quite strong but still very delicious. The staff in this restaurant is very friendly and out of all the restaurants we ate in this one felt the most authentic in terms of traditional tuscan cuisine.
This morning we wanted to change our usual breakfast spot so we asked a lady where else we could go and she recommended Caffé Giacosa. This is a coffee shop owned by a luxury designer Roberto Cavalli. I must admit the cappuccino tasted delicious however it was more expensive than usual therefore i recommend you drink at the bar instead of sitting down at a table.
Today was our lazy day because on a Monday all the museums are closed so we decided to hike and walk up the 500 steps leading to the Campanile del Giotto (bring comfortable shoes)- but i can assure you the view at the top over Florence is breathtaking and absolutely worth every step of the way.
In the office opposite the Battistero you can book your entry to the Campanile and the Cupola because they are usually very busy. This will save you hours of queue so I recommend doing so. Also where tickets are concerned you pay 15 euros and you have access to the Battistero di San Giovanni, Campanile del Giotto, the Cupola, the Basilica and the Museo dell’opera del Duomo.
We also went shopping around Via dei Tornabuoni and Via della Vigna Nuova. I bought a beautiful dress from Pinko, to remind me of this incredible summer holiday.
Leaving a place you felt at home in is always very sad. Florence is such a different city in terms of atmosphere; it is so lively, people are friendly and generous and even though it is a touristic city you always feel welcome.
Luckily, our train is late in the afternoon so we have time to see two of the most important museums we missed out over the weekend. We booked the Galleria deli Uffizi at 11.15 (which I also recommend to do because the queue is always enormous). Reduced tickets for students cost 6.25 euros, and if you want to prebook a time slot there is a 4 euro fee. This art gallery contains some of the most extraordinary works of art from across the world; including paintings from the most valued painters from medieval times to baroque, Italian renaissance, and from important european artists of the last eight hundred years. We managed to see the gallery in one hour and a quarter because we are on a tight schedule but I would leave at least two hours to see this incredible world of sculptures and paintings, including the arts of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raffaello and many more. They are simply breathtaking... no wonder this is the most important gallery of Florence.
In our very limited lunch break between the two galleries we stopped in L’antico Vinaio, a place that is highly recommended on trip advisor. They create sandwiches made out of pizza with anything you like for just 5 euros – I had speck, gorgonzola, aubergine and wild rocket in mine and it is such great value for money because the sandwich is filling and you choose the ingredients you want.
After eating we made our way to Palazzo Pitti. This incredible building is by far my favourite in terms of architecture, decoration, art and content. Palazzo Pitti was built in 1458 as a challenge from Luca Pitti towards the Medici family. The great duke, Cosimo I bought this amazing building in order to satisfy his wife Eleonora di Toledo. In time, the building became the property of different people including the Medici, I Duchi di Lorena and in 1860 the Savoia. The building also changed in terms of size and became three times bigger than it was when it was idealised by Pitti. Therefore there became many important things to be seen in this building. The most important being Galleria Palatina, containing works of art that couldn't be fit into the Galleria deli Uffizi, Il Museo deli Argenti, containing precious dynasty antiquities, Il Giardino di Boboli, La Galleria delle Porcellane, La Galleria del Costume and La Galleria d'Arte Moderna.
We bought our tickets for the Galleria Palatina and Galleria d'Arte Moderna for 6.50 euros. There was a special collection on Karl Largerfield that I couldn't miss. I have to admit, the one thing that left me absolutely stunned was the rooms themselves, the furniture, the affreschi... There is so much history behind this incredible building I cannot wait to share it with you in my next posts!
next stop: #Rome