A few things: there is no round 1 so don't bother look for it. Also, I considered titling this post 'Florentine Fridays' but am not sure the location of each given Friday will be, in fact, in Florence.
What are fabulous Fridays? Well, now that James and I are less likely to be standing in a line or sitting in a chair holding a number, or scooting to the third recommended building in a row---we figure we better get down to the business of soaking up Florence [and its nearby towns].
It is a priority to see as many paintings, famous statues, museums, churches, bridges, etc. as we possibly can. We have tours to take, markets to visit, sites to see. And because we need to spend a hunk of our time massaging our remotely managed writing/consulting/legal careers, we have appointed Friday as our official day to tour. Think of it as a self-imposed 4 day work week---and consequently a self-designed 3 day weekend.
Round 1 of 'fabulous fridays' was over a week ago, and included our serendipitous tour and lunch at Verrazzano winery in Greve (Greve is south of Florence by about half an hour). We were invited there after attending a field trip for Anthony's class (for a Q&A with the town mayor). It was amazing, the colors of Tuscany were brimming, the day sunny and the wine and company warm to the soul.
Round 2, then, was just this past Friday: our first official Friday in Florence. The boys have a long day at school that day (Caleb come home around 4pm, Anthony leaves school early and fits in soccer, which puts him home at around 6pm).
So we plan our tours, take a long lunch and do what we mean to do this year abroad: soak it up.
This last Friday we visited the Duomo floor (we saved the climb to the top with all its terraces for another time when we tour with the grandparents and boys). We also visited the Duomo Museum, a beautiful museum with original [Duomo] works including Michelangelo's Florentine Pieta (he did 3 Pieta's in his life, the most famous of which is in Rome), extensive works by Luca and Andrea della Robbia, models and drawings by Brunelleschi and bronze and marble sculptures and reliefs by Donatello.
I recommend a visit, if you come to Florence. The artists and sculptures represented in this well-appointed museum are worth the euros. It is also where you purchase tickets to climb the stairs to the top of the dome and campanile (in case you wanted to know).
We were tuckered out from absorbing great art, and took a 2-block leave to a rooftop cafe. In a previous post, I told you to visit this cafe. It is on top of a Rinascente department store. You access the store in the Piazza Repubblica. Go all the way to the top floor (home section: linens and dishes), walk through all the seasonal paraphernalia toward the registers, and there you will see nondescript stairs that lead to the cafe. Once in the cafe, look again for stairs leading up. Aha: you found the roof and views of the Duomo, Piazza Repubblica, the hills across the Arno and more. We bought just a pastry and espressos, since the views are figured into the price, but it was worth it.
(Okay, we actually went to the museum first, then coffee on the roof, then back to the Duomo floor). After our visit to the Duomo it was time for lunch; we picked a wine bar called Frescobaldi, a name not uncommon to this region. Frescobaldi is a large stretch of land through Tuscany, including 9 properties and countless wines; if you type it into Google, the listings are piled high with reviews from wine magazines and options to purchase their wine online. They have done well for themselves and with good reason.
I ordered rabbit, that had been seared then braised; James ordered pasta with boar sauce (I made this at home last week, so we consider this research for future homemade boar sauce). They were both lovely, as was the company.
Next Friday? We haven't firmed up plans, but have a scheduled tour of Vasari's corridor---the 'secret' passage above the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge---used by the Medici's for safe, unadulterated passage. Oh, and stay tuned for our road trip on Wednesday (Mercoledi); James and I plan a day of driving and touring since I have an interview for a writing job in Castellina in Chianti (a town about an hour south of Florence). Better hit some wineries along the way, don't you think? Before or after the interview? Hopefully not in lieu of it...