I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."---Michelangelo
"Art is never finished, only abandoned."--Leonardo Da Vinci
Once inside the Uffizi our guide directed us toward the Italian Renaissance section bypassing room after room of priceless art. You might need a lifetime to see and appreciate the entire collection so we hurried along to glimpse just the highlights. Quite businesslike on the outside, the Uffizi was quite beautiful inside. The ceilings and floors were lavishly decorated. The walls were covered in tapestries and frescoes. The hallways were lined with huge windows affording great views of the Arno. We reached our destination and were shown the Renaissance headliners, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphel, and others. And to think, I wrote term papers on these guys. Amazing!
Did you know? In northern Italy last names tend to end with an "i", while those in the south tend to end with an "o". The most common surname in Italy is Russo.
On our own in Florence
By the time we left the Uffizi the sky was getting darker by the minute. David and I went back to the hotel to grab our raincoats, but before we could leave and continue our adventure the sky fell in. The rain began pounding, the wind was howling, and finally the hail came down. Buckets and buckets of hail were being blown sideways pounding against the windows and almost instantly filling the curbs with cannellini bean sized ice. It cracked the window in our hotel room, flooded the low lying shops and cafes, and provided plenty of ammunition for the school kids that had just gotten out of class. In the streets we saw downed trees, collapsed rain gutters, and fallen brick. At our farewell dinner we each shared our hail storm experiences and the funniest story was about a group of tourists on Segways that were stuck in the middle of the street with their wheels spinning aimlessly on the ice. Apparently this was quite an unusual occurrence in Florence and caused a lot of damage city wide. You can YouTube "Hail storm in Florence, September 2014" and see dozens of videos.
The skies cleared quickly after the storm so off we went, gingerly navigating our way over the icy streets. This was our last day in Florence, the last day of our Rick Steves tour, and we still had a few places to see.
In Hindsight: It's okay to take a nap now and then. We were so worried that we'd miss something that we continued to push ourselves to do and see everything on our "must see" list. It's important to stop and recharge the human batteries now and then. After all, we did log in nearly 57 miles of walking and we had several early mornings and late nights. Catching a few ZZZ's would have helped keep us alert and shake out the cobwebs. Besides, you know you're going back to Italy someday. You can visit those other "must see" sights on the next trip.