Thursday, April 21, 2016

Day 25: New discoveries and BEST pizza.

Another beautiful day in Florence!

One thing I forgot to mention in yesterday's blog and don't want to forget to write about: when we were at lunch we sat at a high table on stools. The place was packed! My cane dropped to the ground -- with a CRASH! A young boy -- maybe 8 -- was at the table next to me. Without being asked and in a nanosecond of the cane hitting the ground he jumped off his high stool to pick up my cane and hand it to me. That little act of kindness touched my heart so deeply!

This morning we cut into a melon we bought yesterday -- WOW! The flavor was amazing! It is nice to reflect on the small pleasures in life.

Speaking of which -- you may be wondering why different members of my family have been and are with me on sabbatical. The difficulty I face as a bishop is that I rarely see them -- this is an opportunity to spend time with them  -- it can't make up for the time I've missed with them these past six years, but I will say it has been a great gift to my heart.

I was on a hunt this morning to find the Santa Maria perfumery -- and I did. Wow! The building alone was amazing! Here are some pictures and a link to the website:

Of all the things I could buy what did I buy? Soap! Of course I did!

More fun re-discoveries of things we saw on our first day, but got to share with our family members who just got here:

Yes, Max, rub the pig's nose -- it would be great if you could come back to Florence one day! From Wikipedia: 

Il Porcellino (Italian "piglet") is the local Florentine nickname for the bronze fountain of a boar. The fountain figure was sculpted and cast by Baroque master Pietro Tacca (1577–1640) shortly before 1634, following a marble Italian copy of a Hellenistic marble original, at the time in the Grand Ducal collections and today in display in the classical section of the UffiziMuseum. The original, which was found in Rome and removed to Florence in the mid-16th century by the Medici, was associated from the time of its rediscovery with the Calydonian Boarof Greek myth.

Tacca's bronze, which has eclipsed the Roman marble that served as model, was originally intended for the Boboli Garden, then moved to the Mercato Nuovo in Florence, Italy; the fountain was placed originally facing east, in via Calimala, in front of the pharmacy that by association gained the name Farmacia del Cinghiale (Italian for "boar"). To gain more space for market traffic it was later moved to the side facing south, where it still stands as one of the most popular features for tourists. The present statue is a modern copy, cast in 1998 by Ferdinando Marinelli Artistic Foundry and replaced in 2008, while Tacca's bronze is sheltered in the new Museo Bardini in Palazzo Mozzi.

Visitors to Il Porcellino put a coin into the boar's gaping jaws, with the intent to let it fall through the underlying grating for good luck, and they rub the boar's snout to ensure a return to Florence, a tradition that the English literary traveller Tobias Smollett already noted in 1766, which has kept the snout in a state of polished sheen while the rest of the boar's body has patinated to a dull brownish-green.

We continued on our walk to the Piazza Della Signori--I skipped taking pictures in the loggia but I did snap these:

We stopped for coffee and next to the coffee shop I discovered a prayer chapel that was open-- of course I went in to say a prayer:

We headed over to look for a pizza place that Devika wanted to try and stumbled on a smaller market -- similar to the Mercato Centrale -- the vegetable portion of this market is outside -- the market itself is located near Santa Croce-- Mercato di Sant' Ambrogio:

On to pizza!
Outside the restaurant (Il Pizzaiuolo) was a doggy bar. Inside was a warm atmosphere with great food. We could see the pizzas being made via a mirror near the kitchen. 

A trip for the women to the Santa Croce leather school and for the men to the library (where they were able to get library cards -- really!).

And then -- gelato! Of course I had pistachio!

Took the long way back to the townhouse -- and saw more interesting sights along the way on the various streets we passed through:

And my favorite street intersection ever:

A quiet evening with a short walk at night. 

Total steps walked: 20,862. 8.02 miles.

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