A few months ago, my friend Melissa e-mailed to say she and our friend Jeanae were coming to Rome with their daughters Cambree and Aubree in February and to ask whether Laura and I would like to join them. (We all knew each other through church in Virginia before heading for Milan and Jerusalem and Skopje.) As the time grew nearer, the part of the plan involving us shifted to a meeting in Florence for a day. That day was yesterday, and since Kevin had to travel back to the U.S., it turned out Owen got to tag along, too.
It was great fun. Our trains arrived within minutes of each other, and we went to the market at San Lorenzo. Then we visited part of the Laurentian Library (although not the coolest parts, which were closed) and San Lorenzo:
Afterward we headed toward the Duomo complex, at which time we happened upon a carnivale parade:
Inside the Duomo, much of the floor was blocked off for an event, so I didn't get to take my classic inside-of-the-dome shot. Not that I don't have plenty of those of this particular church already, of course. Back outside, we looked around the Campanile:
And the exterior of the Baptistery (the interior didn't open until later in the day:
Our guests had climbed the cupola at St. Peter's on Friday, so we passed on the top of the Duomo (not that Owen would have been able to go up anyway). We made a trek back to the market to buy some more things, at which time we saw the parade again:
After lots of cool items were purchased, we headed over for lunch at Pallottino and gelato at Vivoli.
Then it was on to Santa Croce:
The weather, after a few drops of rain on our initial walk from the train station, wasn't bad. It was warmer outside than inside all of the churches, but Santa Croce was by far the coldest. Owen demanded to wear his mittens inside, and Jeanae had problems adjusting the zoom on her camera because her fingers were so stiff.
The girls didn't seem too bothered by the cold. In fact, at that point they weren't too interested in sightseeing, either:
I found myself taking quite a few photos of the funerary monuments, especially the ones inbedded in the floor:
Oh, and stained-glass windows. I do love those:
Then we retreated back to the relatively warm outdoors and visited the "romantic graves gallery." No, I have no idea what the English translation really should be, but that's what the signs say:
We went in the Pazzi Chapel, where I've always been a fan of the della Robbias:
Oh, and the stained glass:
The girls were nice enough to pose for a photo in the cloisters:
And of course I had to get a photo of the little museum's Cimabue:
We walked over to Ponte delle Grazie to get some photos of the Ponte Vecchio:
And a few group photos (although I didn't get any of the whole group):
We crossed the Arno and were hoping for a visit (and some purchases) at Il Torchio, but I hadn't done enough research to know it closes at 1 p.m. on Saturdays. At least it was along the way.
The girls did some more posing:
We "shopped" for jewelry on the Ponte Vecchio, and I got this photo of Ponte Santa Trinita:
We made our way to the Palazzo Vecchio:
Said hi to the copy of naked David and the other statues:
And headed back toward the train station. Along the way, we stopped in H&M and then happened upon a parade flag corps performance in Piazza delle Republica. Unfortunately my photos aren't great:
But it was pretty cool.
Then all of the fun was at a sad end, and they went back to Rome and we came home to Milan. Boo hoo!