Great view at Piazzale Michelangelo
We ventured back into Florence today with a couple of destinations in mind. We wanted to see the Santa Croce Church and Piazzale Michelangelo on the northern edge of town. So in the train station, we went to purchase bus tickets. We knew it was too far to walk there and back.
A German tourist, speaking English, wanted to sell me two bus tickets at a discount because he did not have time to use them as he was headed to Venice I wasn’t sure if they were valid, so I turned away and went to the counter and bought two one-way tickets. We had planned to walk back to the heart of the old town. The train station is nearby.
Meanwhile, the German tourist was making a pitch to Teresa, but finally his wife said to give her the tickets, which she accepted.
Finding the No. 12 or No.13 bus to reach our points of interest was not very difficult. A bus driver, getting off duty and leaving his vehicle, politely said we were in the right area and to ” aspeta” (That is one of the few Italian words my parents used around us kids growing up)
It was enjoyable viewing the passing neighborhoods of Firenze we had never seen. The end of the line was the Piazzale Michelangelo. There was a large parking lot, naturally busting at the seams and white lines with parked cars, tour buses and a few limousines.
A young Japanese bride was helped out of a stretch limo by one of many bridesmaids, making sure her long dress didn’t get too soiled.
We weren't there very long. However, it was a spectacular vantage point overlooking the city. It was as if we were viewing a painted canvas with the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio to the left, the Duomo in the center and Santa Croce in the forefront. Laura took a photo for a couple from Toronto, and they did likewise for us A few seconds later another young man wearing a Toronto Blue Jays jersey began photographing the panoramic view. The two men from Toronto did not know each other. Small but not so small world, isn't it, I thought.
We nixed the plan to walk to the Santa Croce after viewing the distance in the panorama.
So the two bus tickets Teresa got sans gratis were going to come in handy. Laura still needed a ticket, so we thought. A bus came by,and she asked the woman bus driver about buying a ticket on board. This driver too was very polite and quickly looked at Laura's old ticket, announced it was good for an hour with a few minutes left and told us to get on.
I stayed up front by the driver to ask where to get off for the Santa Croce. She said she would let us know.
We opted not to transfer to the bus No. 23 as the driver instructed, and walked the rest of way to he church, first stopping in a neighborhood trattoria. I switched up on the pasta intake and had Aglio Olio, and Teresa and Laura had the house specialty pasta pomodoro. We had a good feeling about the restaurant because we saw local laborers at many of the tables.
Santa Croce Church
Well-fueled with pasta, we went a couple of blocks and found the Santa Croce Gothic-styled church where Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli are buried. The burial sites were unique in style, although the Machiavelli vault was more ornate. I had to agree with Laura that it was extemely odd and unsettling to see tourists taking "selfies" at the grave sites.
Michelangelo’s final resting place
From there we walked back toward the Palazzo Vecchio, the main piazza. Teresa and Laura went into the Uffizi Gallery gift shop. Had the line not been so long, we may have toured the palace, but we were feeling fatigued due to the warm temperature and the humanity everywhere around us. Teresa and Laura did say, if I had been with them in the gift shop, we might have backed right into the exhibit for free. Sounds like something I might do, but not Teresa and Laura.
We did want to see the Boboli Gardens at Pitti Palace, the home of the ruling Medici families from 1549. Of course, Napoleon put it to his use during his European conquest in the early 1800s. After the unification of Italy in 1871, it was the residence of the King of Italy, and Victor Emmanuel III gave it to the people of Italy in 1919. The gardens turned out to be a bust because there were very few flowers to see in the garden and it was very hot. The many fountains were not turned on and that might have made the walk through the gardens cooler and more enjoyable.
Inside the Gothic-styled Santa Croce Church