So after our long night attempting to get back to Scandicci and then into the school, we weren’t sad to leave the next day, haha! Everyone there was so friendly and kind to us, but they were just really busy with the renovations they had going on. We left early that morning and trekked all the way to the bus station to buy tickets where we discovered it was still closed. So we trekked all the way back to the school and the guy in charge was kind enough to give us a ride to the tram station (which was open). Granted, the first machine we tried to buy tickets from wouldn’t work for us, but by this point we already expected things to go wrong so we just shrugged it off and walked across the tracks to a different machine. We headed to the main train station and dropped our big backpack off at the luggage check (which by the way was amazing. We did this several times over the trip so we didn’t have to keep our bag with us all day after checking out of hotels).
Walking to breakfast that morning, we came across this market that reminded me of markets in China. Except that this one didn’t smell as bad, haha! It was fun seeing all the locals out for their morning shopping. 🙂
My breakfast that morning was a piece of focaccia from a grocery store that we stopped at to grab lotion (mine had been lost in the checked luggage). It was SO good! Really we didn’t eat anything bad the whole time we were there. It’s all just different levels of amazing. And this is grocery store bread we’re talking about here, haha!
This was the day we got to see Michelangelo’s David. We used Rick Steve’s guidebook quite a bit and took his advice for reserving our tickets in advance. I am SO glad we did. We only waited 30 minutes to get in via the reserved ticket line compared to the hours other people waited (the line was wrapped around two buildings and down the street). Anyway, the David was magnificent. We were both excited to see it, but didn’t know if it would effect us at all to see it in person. Oh, it did. It truly is a masterpiece. The photo I have here is actually from outside the Palazzo Vecchio where a copy stands (no photos allowed of the original at the Accademia).
My favorite view of the David was from this angle. The commentary we listened to as we examined the original pointed out that while David looks confident and strong from the front, he seems a little unsure and maybe a bit scared from this angle. There were benches at the foot of the David so we sat just below him at this angle for a long time just examining everything. Again, this photo is actually of the replication outside the Palazzo Vecchio. Leading up to the David are Michelangelo’s Prisoners which are statues he never finished. They literally look like they are straining to burst out of the marble they are still captured in. Very cool to see Michelangelo’s artistic process as we looked at these. We walked back through the Accademia two more times to see the David before we left. It really is that cool to see in person.
Lunch was at I Fratellini which is just a hole in the wall place with no seating. We ate our sammies on the sidewalk outside while watching the pigeons try to snag food from people. We got a salami and goat cheese sandwich and a prosciutto and goat cheese sandwich. Both were really good, but we both liked the prosciutto better. The bread was super crispy which Christopher really liked.
Next up was the Uffizi which also allowed no photos inside. We also had reserved tickets so we waltzed right past the line and in the door which was nice. 🙂 Now here is where we fail to be classy… neither of us are huge art buffs. Seeing the Birth of Venus and the Primavera were cool in that we remember them from Art Appreciation in college, but it just wasn’t as moving for either of us as seeing the David earlier that morning. The Venus di Medici was there and that was pretty cool to see as well as Boy with a Thorn because he’s so life like. Florence taught Christopher and I that we are far more moved by sculpture than painting.
On our way back to the train station we stopped at 50 Rosso to grab a sandwich to go. This was my first time to speak in ONLY Italian! I ordered what I wanted, asked for it heated up, and to go… all in Italian! Before this we had been trying to use the words we knew, but this was the first time I knew all the words I needed, haha! I was so pleased with myself. I skipped right out of the cafe. 😉
So then we go to buy a train ticket… and all the sudden the curse of Florence came back to visit us, haha! Neither our debit or credit cards would work in any of the machines to buy train tickets. It kept saying that there was an error. Afraid that our bank had canceled our cards because of use overseas (even though we told them we were traveling!) we walked to the bank to attempt a withdrawal. I nearly cried with relief when it worked. The idea of being in Italy with no access to our bank account was terrifying. Anyway, we just got out enough cash to cover the tickets and hopped on a train to Naples. Our journal from this time says:
There have been so many mishaps that it is almost comical. This isn’t including two different women in the train station who tried to scam us and even take money from our hands (I draw the line at touching – that’s not okay with me). Oh, and of course the guy who tried to pick pocket Christopher (but failed because I saw him and stepped in the way). We could be miserable, but we figure that we are only in Italy once (or at least not again for a long time) so we should make the best of it! Plus it’s ITALY and despite these small things, everything else is awesome! Of course, I say that and we are headed to the most dangerous city in Italy…
But Naples was great! Our check in at our hotel went smoothly and no one attempted to steal anything from us so that was a bonus. We dropped our luggage off at our hotel and headed out for PIZZA!
We had planned to go to Da Michele, but it was closed for renovations so we ended up randomly across the street at Trianon which turned out to be the best thing EVER! Our waitress was actually kind of rude to us (either she was having a bad day or just didn’t like dealing with tourists), but the pizza more than made up for it. Both of us agree that the best pizza we had in Italy was here. Their crust was thin, chewy, and just slightly charred (in a good way). It was unbelievably good! We are going to attempt to recreate it at home!
After dinner Christopher spotted this little beauty store down the street. Run by two Italian men who didn’t speak English, we attempted to explain to them that I was looking for anti-frizz serum and a straightener. It was hilarious. Christopher about died laughing when I (using exaggerated hand motions) showed them that after I wash and dry my hair, my hair goes “POOF!” Yeaaaah, it was entertaining. They did eventually figure out what we meant, though! And they had a straightener, but it was way more than we were willing to pay. They also had a split end binder which we did go ahead and buy because I thought it might sort of work as an anti frizz serum (and it sort of did, haha – I found a better one in Rome later). These guys were great, though. Very friendly and super helpful!
Our room at UNA Napoli (our hotel) and the view out of our balcony. The doors to the balcony were sound proof so as soon as we shut them, all the choas outside died down and when we pulled our black out curtains closed, our room was totally dark and silent. It. Was. Awesome. 😀 This was actually Christopher’s favorite place we stayed on this trip. More on Naples tomorrow!