Free museum day! I haven’t been able to participate because usually I am traveling on the first Sunday of the month, so now it is time to play catch-up. I should have taken the advice of one of my professors who told me to see the museums and other sites early in the semester before the tourists come… I thought: how bad could it be? It is bad! The tourists come in thick crowds and it is hard to walk the streets, dodging selfie sticks left and right.
On free museum day, I knew it would be even worse, so I got an early start with Casey and headed down the street to the Galleria dell’Accademia to see the David one more time. 15 minutes before it opened up at 8:15 there was already a line down the street and wrapped around the corner! It was crazy. We quickly gave up and went to get coffee instead.
Casey and I made Pitti Palace our first stop because we wanted to see the Boboli gardens before it started raining. We did a quick run-through of the palace (since I had been there before with my class and Casey wasn’t terribly interested) and met Jordan in the gardens. The sun had come out and it was hot!
We spent a long time walking around in the gardens and my favorite part was the rose garden and look-out point at the end of the gardens. We got a little bit lost, but ended up at the Bardini gardens next – I liked these way better! It actually had flowers that had been taken care of.
The plan was to go to the Uffizi next… but I underestimated the power of tourists and the line was completely wrapped around the courtyard and overflowing into Piazza della Signoria! We opted for a panino instead – none of us had ever tried the famous All’Antico Vinaio. My architecture professor had pointed this shop out to our class on one of our first class outings and I took a picture so I could remember. Every time that I passed it throughout the semester, it had a line down the street! My professor said that it is well known throughout Italy but not so much to other tourists. It is very traditional, so Italian tourists frequent here. Today, the line was not very long surprisingly, so we joined and quickly got our sandwiches. While they were making them for us, Casey asked if they could add pesto to her sandwich and they responded, “Pesto is for pasta.” And that was that. I felt like this was as close as Italy would get to a Jimmy Johns, it was really fast even though they sliced the meat fresh for each sandwich and used the freshest ingredients. In reality, it wasn’t anything like Jimmy Johns, it was just the wrapping paper that reminded me of it haha. We sat and ate the paninis on the curb down the street, acting as advertisement for the shop. People would walk by, staring, and we would just point them down the street, They were delicious and I felt bad because I couldn’t finish mine or even get close.
After trying our best to eat the paninis, we hobbled over to Palazzo Vecchio and the line wasn’t even that long! 20 minutes later, we found out why: this museum was only free this Sunday for citizens of Florence. That was super misleading and we ended up walking away.
We ventured to Palazzo Davanzati, another museum I visited with my class that most people would skip over. It is actually pretty cool (the first palace of transition) and they have a room full of lace. One of the main reasons we went here was because I knew they had a nice bathroom, and it was free to get in anyways! I’m glad we made this stop because I was proud of how much information I actually retained about this site.
Cappelle Medicee was one of our last stops, I walk by this chapel almost every day but I’ve never been in! It is attached to San Lorenzo, and the Medici made this their chapel because it was so close to their house – Palazzo Medici Riccardi. From the outside it doesn’t seem very impressive and I wasn’t expecting what I saw at all! I don’t know what else I expected from the Medici, it was truly grand. That was the theme of the day: The Medici are extra. Everywhere we went, they had been involved in some way and had left their mark.
We were getting really tired, so we sat on the steps of San Lorenzo and watched some street band performing. Even though they played their last song soon after our arrival, we stuck around for the people watching and to rest our tired legs! The longer we sat there, the less we wanted to keep going, so we forced ourselves to get up and walk over to the Bargello.
The Bargello was Florence’s first town hall, and serves as a nice museum now. Honestly, we didn’t get that much out of it because we were so tired of museum-going all day. We lost Casey and she headed home. Jordan and I stuck it out as long as possible, but eventually went home before going to every floor.