frolicking fridays, round 6

This past Friday was the beginning of a long, full weekend. The boys had Monday and Tuesday off (Dec 7 & 8), so we made plans to travel and rest. Friday James and I tackled a bit more of Florence, Saturday we buzzed to Pisa, Sunday we landed in San Gimingano and Volterra, so Monday and Tuesday we aimed for days lazing about our home (with regular visits to our nearby piazza, now filled with Christmas vendors).

Though we are all big fans of seeing as much of Italy as possible, we are also strangely possessive of our 'free time' at home. Down time is in high demand. No doubt much of it has to do with all that we absorb on a daily basis---Anthony and Caleb especially (e.g. Italian immersion at school).

Friday James and I had grandiose plans to visit Santa Maria Novella, a church full of famous paintings and artifacts---a must see when you visit Florence. Upon arrival, we found the church closed (closed every Friday, actually). Luckily, there is much to do, see, discover and explore in Florence. We pushed off to yet another church on our short list: Ognissanti (home church to Amerigo Vespucci, burial to Boticelli and canvas to frescoes by Ghirlandaio). Again our plans were foiled... it is also closed on Fridays. Naively hopeful, we swung by to peak at some of Ghirlandaio's frescoes in Santa Trinita---also closed.

Three strikes, but far from out. While skipping from church to church like frogs on a series of lily pads, we found a few 'flowers.' First was an outlet clothing store on Santa Maria Novella's piazza. No, we didn't buy anything, but it was fun to browse and mentally bookmark a store for future indulgences. We walked through Palazzo Strozzi, learning more about this formidable family. Inside the Palazza ticket office, there was a little room with a model of the original palazza and background information and inspiration re: the Strozzi family (free!).

Other Friday highlights included a visit to Dante's house---a museum that we had walked by what feels like a hundred times. This time, we finally went in (James is actually reading Dante's Divine Comedy). Truth be told, we wouldn't recommend it. If you are a Dante aficionado and/or family-line history buff, perhaps. But otherwise I would skip it, mostly because there are so many impressive museums and artifacts and sites in Florence that would be a better use of your time.

We peeked into a few stores, hid under our umbrellas and found a quaint little spot for lunch: Enoteca Coquinarius (Via delle OChe, 15r). We took our time. The kind of time chatting and vino-drinking and food-sampling that leads to losing track of time. It was packed, and cozy and we tried braseola and ravioli and dense chocolate cake. Perfectly memorable.

On our way home, James popped into the Paperback Exchange (to buy some books), and I swung by the grocer. The latter wouldn't be so interesting, except I came home with some red wine glasses and a Christmas table cloth. Add a few well appointed candles... and our home is now humming of the holidays.


  1. j...
    where can i send your christmas card??
    traci :)

  2. Anonymous9.12.09

    Loved reading Anthony's post about Bologna and your's about closed churches! Seems like a wonderful Friday in Florence.

    Question for Anthony: Is school conducted completely in Italian?

    Do all of you (your family) speak Italian?



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