Monday, February 5, 2007

to the Other Side

Since Mondays in Florence = all museums closed, we set out to fill our day elsewhere. After a quick stroll through the Duomo we crossed the Ponte Vecchio and headed for the Oltr'arno area, the other side of the river. Armed with a tour from a guidebook, I led Wayne up a huge hill to Fort Belvedere for it's spectacular views of the Boboli Gardens. It, too, was closed. So we headed down another road along one of the original city walls. We figured out that the trees we were passing were olives. I was walking, just enjoying the sunny day, checking out the wall and trees; but I think Wayne was starting to fear we were heading nowhere. Ha HA!

I made him climb another big hill to reach Piazzale Michelangelo, which offered fantastic views of the city and beyond. We sat on the steps, I ate my orange pilfered from breakfast and we noticed a little activity on the terrace below. There was an entire wedding party all decked out doing a photo shoot. That photographer made his bride sprawl out on the lawn, wrap herself around a light pole and gaze longingly at her new man. The poor groom passed us a sighed deeply. I guess the sentiments are universal. Why these crazy pictures???

We went up the hill a little further to San Miniato, a beautiful Romanesque church that is still a monastery. Our favorite part, a morbid as it sounds, was the cemetery. The church was encircled with white marble gravestones, crosses and garage-sized crypts. Apparently the last few centuries of wealthy Florentines used their graves to show off too. My favorite, though, was a grave marked by this statue of a mom and her boys. The woman lived into her 60s, but I can totally understand why she'd want to be memorialized at the time when her boys were babies.

After the loooong trek back to the hotel we sought out Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. I'd never heard of it until I started planning this trip then quickly learned it was one of the world's oldest pharmacies - Dominican fathers began making herbal remedies in the back garden in the 1200s. It opened the store selling to the public in the 1600s and has been selling these faab-u-lous soaps, teas, lotions and potpourri ever since. I'm kicking myself for not taking any pictures inside (see some here) but I wouldn't have done it justice. We (I) indulged in a few goodies, including the "boys protective cream." Miles now has some of the most luxurious buttpaste in town!

No comments: