Palazzo Vecchio

Only in Firenze is the Town Hall an amazing palace and former home of the Medici family.  We took a guided tour of Palazzo Vecchio today and learned a lot about the building and the Medici family.  The map room was lined with maps of the world as they knew it in 1550.  There was a map that showed Florida.  Although Florida was shorter and fatter than it really is, it was hard to believe that a little less than sixty years after Christopher Columbus landed on America the Italians were able to construct a map of the country.

Palazzo V map FL

Because we were on a guided tour, we had access to the secret rooms behind one of the map-room panels.  Our guide opened a hidden door and we walked through a dark passageway and entered a charming little room.

palazzo V map room door Palazzo V-Deb

The decor was amazing.  The Hall of Justice and the Hall of Lilies had ceilings that were totally covered with gold leaf and lapis lazuli.

palazzo V ceiling

The great hall is a reflection of Cosimo I de Medici’s confidence and power.  The painting in the center of the building shows him being crowned by an angel.

Palazzo V great room ceiling

Large frescoes on the wall depict his victories over neighboring towns such as Pisa and Sienna.

Palazzo V great room

One of the statues, “Winged Boy with Dolphin” in the palazzo is by Andrea del Verrocchio, the teacher of Leonardo da Vinci.

Palazzo V-Pluto

Earlier in the day we took David on one of our favorite walks up a gazillion steps to San Mineato, a beautiful Medieval church.

Palazzo V-walk 2

This time we were able to walk around the cemetery that surrounds the church.

Palazzo V-cemetery

When we went inside, a monk was near one of the alters.  I thought her was preparing for a service, but then he pulled out a vacuum cleaner and started cleaning.

Palazzo V-monk

In the evening we took David and Julie to our favorite opera find, Love Duets at St. Mark’s Church.  There were about fifty people there, a few more than when we went earlier.  A couple we know from Bemidji, our northern MN home of thirty years, was in the same audience.

Tomorrow we leave for Sienna, and I am feeling sad to say good-bye to Firenze.  i was starting to feel like I lived here.  The owner of my favorite gelato place remembers what I like and gets it ready when I enter. In the last two days, a waiter we have gotten to know stopped his car and called out to us as he drove by that we still hadn’t met for a coffee.  Then a few blocks later the owner of another restaurant we like was out with friends and recognized us and greeted us as we walked by.