I’ve been to Florence twice before. First, with my “not so into Art, but I will look at David” husband. The second time was with my husband, 5yo son and parents. To my pleasant surprise, my mother was very curious into viewing many of the beautiful art pieces in the Uffizi Gallery and going on a guided tour of the Accademia. On that tour was my husband, dad and son. My son loves a good tour and it lasted 2.5 hours. I have to give him a round of applause for how he hung on every word and loved learning about my favorite artist Michelangelo.
But, moving on, I was excited when my friend Christi was going to visit with her daughter Ashley. My husband wanted our son to stay home with him, and I had not experienced a weekend away with friends, like this, since before moving to Rome. We could have been staying in a back alley in Naples, my bags would be packed…I think. Well, that was not the destination at had, Florence was, and Christi made all the arrangements for lodging. I did not know how curious she would be to go to museums, but I would love to take a deeper dive into Uffizi. As luck would have it, she scheduled a tour of Uffizi and a night-time walk of Florence. Both of which, I was extremely excited to see.
The Uffizi did not disappoint. I had received confirmation on artwork that I loved and more information than I had known. Also, the tour only spent time in my favorite parts of the museum, which was a complete score for me. I like art, specifically Renaissance. But can only look at it no longer that 2 hours, because my eyes will glaze over. The tour was perfectly timed and filled with great information on all the Botticelli’s. The best part, Christi and Ashley had the same curiosity that I did and were satisfied with the art as soon as I was. I felt as if I hit the artistic jackpot. If I were with my husband we he would have gotten itchy long ago.
Next we had a break, before moving on to the night-time walk of Florence from Dark Rome. The three of us were excited for this as well. Although, Ashley was wary of the whole line in the description paragraph for the tour about “ghosts”. Our tour guide, Elisabetta, was excellent both is her descriptions and storytelling of the medieval times and the Medici family. But the stories did not end with just the most famous family of that era, but many Florentine families who made the city what it is. My favorite being a Sienese man who came to marry a Florentine woman–scandalous–but went to build quite a rich little empire for himself. How did he do this? When he and his fellow colleagues would travel to Venice to place bids on the goods in the boats at the Venice docks, they would go to dinner the evening before. He invited the all to dinner, to which he treated everyone to a celebratory feast. When it came time foe the wine, he slipped them all some Opiates. Needless to say, everyone slept in late. Our Sienese man was able to get his goods at a very low rate, thus quickly building his fortune. The Opiates are taken from the Poppy flower. On his palazzo he has stone poppy flowers on the walls, also an inscription that reads “For he who does not sleep”. That guy was hilarious.
There were many more stories were learned during the tour that were memorable, but the previously mentioned stands out. At the end of the two-hour walk we went to a Gelateria for, you guessed it, some nice Gelato. Ashley was becoming a connoisseur and glad we did not see any ghouls or specters from times long ago.