No more madonna please

Florence / Venice, Italy
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

This time our plan worked. We got up early and packed our bags, checked out of the hotel and joined the line for the Uffizi Gallery at 7.30am. We were about 10th in line and I left the BOSS to guard our precious place and went off in search of caffeine.

Italian coffee is good - most of the time. You can never tell though - I have had some lousy coffees from real shops and I have had some great coffees from railway station cafes. 99% of the time it comes in real cups, not this paper or polystyrene crap we get in Australia. You get one size only - teacup size - about 4 good swigs, but that's all you need to sustain you for the next few hours. You pay a cheaper price if you drink at the bar like real Italians but there are certain places where you can pay for 'standing' coffee but they don't mind if you take it 'sitting down'. And everywhere without exception, the person making the coffee does not handle the money. You pay a cashier first and then present a receipt to the coffee maker.
I am not a coffee connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination and I will drink just about anything as long as it's not in polystyrene. I enjoyed immensely the takeaway coffee from the tiny cafe just off the entrance to the Uffizi even though it was in a plastic cup.

We waited for only one freezing hour and as soon as the doors opened, we were in.
As I have stated earlier, I'm pretty much a heathen when it comes to art and today is no exception. I never want to see another Madonna and Child - with or without cherubs, saints, angels, admirers, slaves or priests. There was no information about the paintings (unless you hired the audio guide) and after the few famous Botticelli's, Michelangelo's and Da Vinci's we were both bored out of our skulls. I even tried eavesdropping on a tour guide to try and spark some enthusiasm but he nearly put me to sleep.

The redeeming factor was that the Uffizi happened to be hosting a Da Vinci exhibition which was so much more than just a few old paintings. It had excellent explanations of all aspects of his genius from sculpting the horse that never was, to perspective in the Magi painting. It had brilliant videos and this captivated both the BOSS and I for 2 further hours.

[You are not allowed to take photos in any of the art galleries - so there are no photos of artworks accompanying these two days.]

We returned to our now favourite Italian restaurant for a quick lunch before collecting our bags and catching the train to Venice.

01 Freezing in the Uffizi line
Freezing in the Uffizi line
02 The Uffizi line
The Uffizi line
03 Some more statues
Some more statues
04 Palazzo Vecchio at sunrise
Palazzo Vecchio at sunrise
05 The fountain
The fountain
06 Empty Palazzo Vecchio
Empty Palazzo Vecchio
07 The BOSS needs a hug
The BOSS needs a hug
08 The clock tower
The clock tower
09 Being artistic
Being artistic
10 Being more artistic
Being more artistic
11 Ponte Vecchio through dirty Uffizi window
Ponte Vecchio through dirty Uffizi window
12 Our favourite Florence restaurant
Our favourite Florence restaurant
13 Our lunch
Our lunch
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