5 days in Florence
Monday, October 16, 2017
Piazza San Giovanni (Piazza del Duomo), Chianti Classico Wine Tasting
We woke up very early to get pictures of this beautiful city before too many people were out and about. It was 45 degrees! We had the 15€ ticket to enter all of the Piazza del Duomo buildings, but we didn’t realize that there is a secondary process to get into the dome itself. We figured it out, and then went into the Baptistry of San Giovanni, and then the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore. A stairway leads down to the excavations of the ancient Cathedral Santa Reparata, where you can see the remains of Roman houses on which Santa Reparata was erected in the 5th Century AD, and portions of early-Christian mosaic pavement.
We then decided to go into Giotto’s Bell Tower. There are no signs at all telling you what to expect. Nothing in the brochure. As we started ascending stairs, we figured it out. They sell a T-shirt (after you climb back down) that says “414 steps. No Lift”. The steps weren’t so bad, except for the triangular-shaped spiral section toward the top. It made the climb pretty treacherous for Mike and his size 12 feet. But it was worth it, and we had some pretty spectacular views of the city.
We bought a sketch of the Piazza from an artist named “Dorotea”. When I told her my mom’s name is Dorothy, she told me that it means “Gift of God”. It seems I’ve heard that before.
It was nice being in the city before everything was open. When we got to the square behind the Uffizi (Piazza Signoria), it was clear that they were preparing to film something there. We didn’t ask, but there was some guy dressed in gladiator garb, a carpet that was covered with sand, lettuce strewn near a wagon, and people sweeping the sand. (When we had a guided tour of the Uffizi the next day, our guide said that they were filming ‘Michelangelo’, which she said promises to be “Fantastic”.)
Afterwards we changed into lighter clothing and got ready for a tour of Chianti Classico wine and EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). We made 2 stops; our favorite was a very small winery, Casa Sola, where we tasted two Chianti Classicos and one “Super-Tuscan”, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese. Our shipment should arrive in Manhattan Beach after we’ve returned home.