Well on Thursday we purchased tickets for the hop on hop off buses around the city to get our bearings on the area. We ended up with quite a good deal 2 adults at 50euros (for both) and children free for 48 hours use.
The buses are best from the top level and you can see everything from up there. It is also a lot cooler up the top in the sun while the bus is moving, inside is stifling.
We went around Santa Maria Novella train station through the narrow streets, past a church we may attend this Sunday (in english). The bus took us along the wall of Florence past the jewish cemetery. The jewish cemetery was made outside the walls because they weren't allowed to bury the jewish inside Florence a long time ago. Now it is in a bad state and looks a bit disshevelled, they said that some of the stones were moved to the front gate for people to see them and the plaques were put back on back to front.
We go up the hills to the statue of Daniele Bahin ? in Gallilei square. Past this point we hear alot about Gallileo, what he did, where he lived and died and how alot of his instruments are in the Museo Archeologico (very interesting that the Catholic church made him denounce his beliefs in astronomy). We pass the tree of love and up the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo where we find the most amazing views of the city below. Also a big statue of David and his friends. From here we took a short walk to the bathrooms (60cents a go) then to the 2 churches we saw from the bus Chiesa di San Miniato al Monte and the Franciscan Chiesa of San Salvatore al Monte alle Croci. We climbed many stairs to visit these 2 beautiful works of architecture (you can visit these for FREE and they are worth the trip), I find the cemetaries very interesting, wish I could go in and have a closer look.
We go through some more streets of Florence around the Cemetery island, past Piazzale Donatello and back to the LungArno towards Santa Croce.
Santa Croce cost 5euros each for adults and kids are free again, I also got a hospital gown to cover my exposed shoulders (woowoo). This is why all the markets sell shawls, I will have to purchase one and take it along with me to wear in the churches for respect. The hospital gown was hot to wear and I felt like an idiot (at least I wasnt the only one). We found the AUSSIE bar near here but it was closed, not sure if it is still open for business , I hope so.
Hop on the bus again to go down the other side of the river to Ponte Vecchio (jewellry bridge I call it now) through Palazzo Pitti and past the Giardino di Boboli (gotta visit here if you ever come to Florence).
Heading back to the starting point (there are 19 stops) we go through Tornabuoni to Antinori, this is where you find Tiffany & Co., Prada, Hermes, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Pucci, Max Mara, Dior, Burberry and those are the ones I can remember. Wish I could go shopping in this street :-)
We then disembark outside MacDonalds and get our 50c drinks with the voucher from the bus (good deal).
On our 2nd day of the hop on hop off we stayed in the centre until about 5pm, that is the latest we have stayed out so far, normally we head back to the apartment for lunch and stay out of the heat, but today it was only 29degrees and was a bit overcast.
When we got home we had pizza and salad for dinner, then went to bed quite early.
At 230am we heard a crash in the apartment and found one of the landlady's photos had fallen from the wall and smashed allover the floor. Iain and I had to clean it up before the kids got up in the morning.
I was still up at 630am I just can't seem to stay in bed past that time.
Today Saturday 24 July 2010 we are having a rest day.
Please find the photos under the Florence page.