Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday 18 May, Florence and Volterra

At 4 AM, the alarm sounded telling us to get up and get going so we could be on the road early to meet our 8:30 reservation time at the Accademia Museum where the statue of Michelangelo's David is displayed. We actually found the free parking lot easily with the help of the Renault's GPS. Now it was cool, 10 C, (50 F) and early, only 7:30, but we still had to catch a bus into the center of town, and then find the museum.

A bus was waiting in the parking lot, which was one of those mentioned in Rick Steves' book. We hopped on, bought our ticket, and then wondered how to know when to get off. It loaded up with people as we made our way into the city. Many had suitcases, so we thought it must be going to the train station and we would get off there. We did, and then tried to decifer where we were on the map and which way to go to the museum. We finally found it after a couple of detours and a stop for a couple of pastry treats.

The line for those with reservations was fairly short. We met some people from Florida and talked to them as we waited in line. He works for some medical products company based in MN. The musuem was not that impressive except for the David statue, which was magnificient.

We then made our way through the maze which is Florence, watching that we didn't get hit by a bike or scooter, to the Uffizi Gallery. Our reservation was supposed to cover both places, and after some confusion on what line was for what and for whom, we were able to purchase our tickets. It was one impressive building and outstanding art collection - almost too much for one whom is not an art history person.

We then toured Florence and had a Panini and Coke for lunch. We waited in line for the Duomo and toured it. At about 3:30, we caught the bus back to our car and then took a few pictures as that lot provides a great view overlooking the town. We had decided to go to Volterra as it is not too far from Florence.

We got there and into the parking ramp in time for an English hour long walking tour of Volterra that is mentioned in Rick Steves' book. We went along with a couple from Coventry England and a couple from Chile. The couple from Chile were using the Steves' book on a Kindle which they found to be easy to use and a great help during their tours of other cities.

The tour guide is from Holland and gave a good overview of the history of the city that was ruled by the Etruscans, the Romans and then by the people in Florence. At the start of the tour, she had us look at all of the older locals sitting on the stone benches around the bus stop. She said they were there every day with the men sitting together under the tree at the far end while the women were sitting together closer to the buildings. She mentioned that one of the men went on vacation somewhere and sent a postcard to his friends and he addressed the card, in Italian of course, as "The guys sitting under the tree, Volterra, Italy" and it was delivered successfully. After the tour, and then some more wandering thru the city, we headed for home.

The Italians certainly enjoy their leisurely way of life, late start to the day, close their stores from 1:30 to 3:00, go out for a late 2-hour dinner at 8 or 8:30. This leisurely pace applies to all areas of their life, except when they are on their scooters or in their cars, then they are transformed into racing drivers emulating their favorite Formula 1 or Moto drivers.

We have now over 4200 Km on the car, over 2600 miles, and we still are going thru Switzerland, back to Germany, and then thru France, to England and then back to Paris before we head back home. It will definitely be a used car by the time we turn it in on June 4th.


  1. Wow you guys are crazy travellers - love to hear about all the stuff you are seeing. We will have a good knowledge of the wealth of the Russian Tsars!

  2. Who says you guys are old?! You can travel with the best of em! I'm tired just reading your posts!!!