On October 14 we started our day with a quick stop at the breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant. I found a chocolate croissant and a fruit-filled pastry with a sugary crust -- not the healthiest breakfast but a very tasty one.
And then we high-tailed it over to the Uffizi. The Uffizi houses a large collection of Italian paintings, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. We didn't have a tour or a reservation, but we figured if we got in line first thing in the morning, we might be able to get in relatively quickly. And we were right. We stood outside for about half an hour before the doors opened and then stood in line another 15 minutes before we were able to buy tickets. We were in and browsing the galleries before people who reserved tickets even got in the door. The gallery has numerous rooms with different art collections grouped in each and we weaved our way through, admiring the artwork.
We had a tour lined up at the Accademia and had just enough time to grab a couple of cappuccinos before meeting up with our tour guide there. The Accademia has two rooms, and the big draw is Michelangelo's David, which is in the second room. Had we known how small the Accademia is, we never would have done a tour. We learned that we are much better off exploring and doing things at our own pace than as part of a tour group. And standing in the first room, listening to all the history behind the paintings and then some for a half-hour before even entering the room with the David was enriching but also made us antsy. Supposedly being part of a tour group helps you skip the line, but you can also reserve tickets and probably get in just as quickly and do the museum at your own pace. The David is amazing and worth the stop. And the paintings and other sculptures are awe-inspiring as well.
After we finished our tour at the Accademia, we walked over to the Duomo. There was a sign out front indicating that it would be opening later on, so we walked around outside for a bit, admiring it in the daylight, and then we went to find lunch.
We had one place in mind that we wanted to go (The Oil Shop) but it was closed, so we went with our plan B (Trattoria Mario) and found it closed as well. We walked around and found a strip of restaurants in a row and ended up just choosing one: Trattoria Da Garibardi.
We both got pizza (remember our plan was to try pizza in every city we stayed in). Jeff went with Margherita, which was definitely the better choice here.
I was indecisive, so I went with the 4 stagioni (four seasons) pizza, so I could have a variety of toppings. My pizza arrived looking like a big mess with the mushrooms, artichokes, olives, and prosciutto all sliding into each other and the cheese puddled in the middle. (Each topping is supposed to be in its own quadrant.)
We both thought the pizza was okay but not great. It was my least favorite meal so far on the trip. At least I had a nice glass of Prosecco to wash it down.
After lunch, we finally got to go inside the Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore). We didn't have to wait in line at all, entry was free, and we even got to take pictures inside. The dome, built by Filippo Brunelleschi, was the first Renaissance dome and one of the main attractions of the Duomo.
We went over to the nearby bell tower (campanile) next and climbed 413 stairs and paid 6 euros each to get to the views at the top.
We could see Piazzale Michelangelo from up there and decided to go there next.