Florence for kids… or close enough.

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Florence for kids… or close enough.

We flew out of Orly on Friday evening and arrived in Florence late enough to justify (to our weary selves, at least) taking a taxi, even sans children’s car seats. When in Florence… We did consider the bus, but were very happy, turning out the light in our air conditioned hotel room half an hour later, not to be only just getting on the bus.

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Two minutes at the bus stop, enough for us softies.

Saturday, we had tickets reserved for the galleria dell’academia, wherein lies (stands) this dude.

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Dave. The replica. No photos allowed in the gallery.

He was bigger than I was expecting, and no, not in that way. But he wasn’t the only attraction. There were stacks of other remarkable statues (some of which have replicas in Rome) and many paintings, icons and some frescoes too.

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We grabbed a tourist-trap lunch, expensive but Louis’ pasta was fab, then the kids, and me, indulged in a grande siesta. So grand, in fact, that we were too late to see Santa Croce, one of numerous jaw-dropping churches in the city. But we did wander through piazza signioria, where David’s replica stands, where the real deal once did, and marveled at the abundance of other statues there.

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Statue, bro?

Sunday, we visited the Baptistry of Saint John, with its spectacular ceiling. Worth sitting on the floor for that view. But my phone was playing up so the pics are on the camera and not (yet) accessible. Our ticket was a 24 hour pass for the cathedral, tower and crypt, but the church was closed to tourists for the morning, it being Sunday, so we climbed the tower. Hm. 400+ steps carrying kiddies, and they only get narrower as you go up. We said, at the bottom, ‘we don’t have to go all the way up,’ but of course it seems like you might as well, when you’ve already climbed a couple hundred steps. I almost fainted at the top. But the view – wow.

It’s all on the camera. You’ll just have to take my word. Tuscan fantasy on the hills around abouts, like out of ‘Much Ado About Nothing.’

We tried to give the kids a nap but that bombed, so off to the Uffizi gallery, where we’d also pre-booked tickets. Worthwhile that, btw. Has saved us hours in queuing already and we’ve only been on hols for a week.

Uffizi gallery was spectacular with sculpture and paintings, including ‘The Birth of Venus’ and numerous others.

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The Florence Cathedral.

Our 24 hour ticket was good till 10.40 and the cathedral opened at 10am so we got in line early and went straight to the crypt for my daily dose of mosaics and frescoes. The remaining foundations of the old church lies beneath, and there were ancient bits and bobs on display too, even a couple of sculls. Creepy-cool.

We over-churched our remarkably patient kids that day. After exploring the cathedral we returned to Santa Croce and walked length and breadth of the church, where Michaelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Dante, and many other big names are entombed. Then there was the cloister and frescoes, and more mosaics. Spectacular, but rough on our low-mid market buggy with all the cobbles and steps. It’ll be a miracle if it survives Rome.

We grabbed a cheap pizza lunch then let the kids terrorize (throw stones around) an empty playground while I talked luuk into going back to the hotel for a rest. Of course, when we got there, the sleepy rat bags discovered their second wind. But then they slept. Luuk went out for a walk on his own, then I had a turn and discovered a market and a great spot for dinner.

I got me a sun hat, and a sketch pad, and returned to find all three amigos sleeping. Dinner was fab, several courses and pretty cheap really. Then we played soccer in the square behind the Medici Museums till Elena got impatient for bed.

We spent our last day in Florence at the Bobilli gardens, walking our feet off. The statues and meandering paths were gorgeous. There was an alarming moment when three mosquitoes were eating one of my legs at the same time, but mostly it was fantastic.

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View from Bobili gardens, across Florence. More sweat than skin at this point. Time to go south… Oh, wait, wrong hemisphere.

We found lunch then in a fit of indecision walked almost the length of the city before settling down to an entirely liquid (and not a drop of alcohol in it) picnic in a park. I read a book, vaguely attending Elena, while Luuk kicked the ball and scoped out the goldfish pond with the wee man.

We hid out at the otherwise empty hotel bar (yay for air conditioning) till we had to catch our train… to Roma! Elena was over-tired, ratty as a sack of rats, but Louis ate our meagre picnic-ish dinner then drew pictures, and as we arrived in the capital taught our English neighbors how to roll that Roman ‘R’ just right. Cute kid almost made up for the squealer.