Exploring the Medici at the Galleria and Uffizi

We were up bright and early this morning for another The Tour Guy tour, this time for exploring the Medici at the Galleria and Uffizi. If we were lucky, we’d find some gelato too!

Adriel and Susan ready for exploring the Medici at the Galleria and Uffizi

I was a bit apprehensive leading up to this, given our exhaustion level after the Venice tour. I needn’t have worried. Fortunately, our guide was sensitive to the intensity of the tour, giving well-timed breaks and pointing out when seats were available. We paced ourselves through the extended tour with energy to spare.

The Galleria dell’Accademia was awesome. We were especially fortunate to have art historian, Frederica, as our guide. We focused on every word with the intensity of students preparing for an pop quiz. Everything that she said was that fascinating.

Two of the most memorable sculptures were …

Rape of the Sabine Women statue at the Galleria
Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women

And, of course, the star …

Michelangelo's David from the right at the Galleria
Michelangelo’s David
Michelangelo's David from the left at the Galleria

Initially, Frederica asked us to assemble to the right of the statue. As she explained the significance of various features, she moved us slowly around to the opposite side. We gained a totally different perspective and understanding of this magnificent piece of art.

We moved on to the Medici Palace.

Medici Palace entry archway
Statue of woman and lemon trees in garden at Medici Palace

The Medici Palace garden with potted lemon trees.

The Duomo was next. Frederica related an interesting story of how the church was built in several phases.

The Duomo in Florence, Italy

…and because this tour guide was so awesome, we visited a gelato shop. It featured a ‘wall of chocolate’…

Wall of cascading chocolate
Gelato in tubs
Frederica’s tip: If pistachio gelato is bright green, it’s not good gelato. This was good gelato.

The group meandered to the Ponte Vecchio, where we got a few more pics of the incredible view down the Arno River.

People rowing on Arno River in Florence, Italy

Then it was lunchtime. We were too hungry to take pics of the food.

However, on my way to the restroom, I spotted this row of pumpkins lined up outside the kitchen, awaiting their inclusion to a future meal.

Pumpkins in a row

After lunch, we met up with our tour group outside the Uffizi Gallery. It was a treat to once again have Frederica as our tour guide.

Almost immediately upon entering the Gallery, we spotted a duo of paintings that looked familiar. Then I realized that I knew almost nothing about them.

These portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino were painted after her death, hers from her death mask. Quick Wikipedia check reveals that she died at 25 when she failed to recover from the birth of their seventh child in 1472. I can’t help but think that her skin tone was a result of exhaustion.

Portraits of the Duke of Urbino and his wife
Duke of Urbino (1422-1482) and his wife, Battista Sforza

I’m still musing about her arm. Doesn’t that look like some ink that we might see today?

Other remarkable sightings in the Gallery

Botticelli's Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Sandro Botticelli’s, Birth of Venus, 1486.
Titian's Venus of Urbino at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Titian’s Venus of Urbino, 1538. In Mark Twain’s 1880 Tramp Abroad, it’s described as, …’ a trifle too strong for any place but a public art gallery.’
Gerard van Honthorst's Supper Party at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Gerard van Honthorst’s Supper Party, 1619. His paintings follow the style of Caravaggio and depict artificially lit scenes. He earned the nickname Gherardo delle Notti (“Gerard of the nights”).
Caravaggio's Medusa at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Caravaggio’s Medusa, 1597. His own face was the model for the Medusa.

After naps (our afternoon routine, these days) we prepared to search for dinner.

We queried the bartender at our hotel for some more dinner ideas. He jotted down a few names of restaurants that cater more to locals than tourists. They all required a bit of a walk, but we were game.

La Natalino was the agreed-upon target, about a 10-minute walk from the hotel. After navigating alleys and back streets, we located this cozy gem.

Night street scene with people walking outside shop and restaurant, Florence, Italy

It was well worth the trek. I noted that we were the only English speakers in any of its dining rooms. That was a coup. My travels have shown that if locals frequent a restaurant, the quality is a bit higher and prices are lower. The locals simply know better.

Zucchini salad at La Natalino ristorante, Florence, Italy
Zucchini salad with parmesan and truffles
Pesto ravioli at La Natalino ristorante, Florence, Italy
Pesto ravioli
Fettucini with shrimp and asparagus at La Natalino ristorante, Florence, Italy
Fettucini with shrimp and asparagus

As we waddled back to our hotel, my Fitbit ticked over 13,000 steps. We collapsed into bed for some well-deserved sleep.

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