Saturday, April 12, 2008
Italy, day 7
With the conference finished and a few more days until we return to Utah, (by the way: what a downer! From ground zero of the renaissance and cultural hotspot of western civilization ... to Mormon country in the desert. Plus 8 time zones' worth of jetlag again) we got to finally do some serious looking around the city of Florence together.
Kim already had a pretty good sense of some places and where they were relative to each other, where I basically knew how to navigate a straight line between our hotel and the conference location.
My scribblings there aren't accurate at all, but you get the right idea. Anyway, we started out the day by heading south and crossing the Fiume river.
I didn't know (and still don't know) what this thing is, but it looked cool, which was reason enough to take its picture.
This old tower struck me as ... striking. The place on the right is the site of the next picture.
A fountain, with the edge of the tower over my head:
Some Florence flora provided free framing:
Woah! The southern part of Florence is very green!
Looking back at the bridges, from pretty high up:
Up in the garden area at Piazzale Michelangelo, another self-portrait:
Looking out from the Piazzale, this wall and the large variety of plant life prompted me to take some shots. We'd been in the main part of the city all week, and just hadn't seen this kind of Tuscan country... But more about that later!
Three shots in one, or at least, you'll be able to see more shots of several elements here when I post everything in a proper album. Kim's next to a fleur-de-thing made of flowers, you can see the big wall again, and then, sharp contrast at the edge of urban Florence off to the right.
We visited the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, which Kim had seen from below on a previous day, but hadn't gone in.
Ok, this probably shouldn't have made the cut for this digest version of our pictorial, but I'm just so impressed that our camera was able to take shots of this detail inside the basilica. It was very dark, but 1-second exposures with the camera held steady against a wall or some such let us capture a little of the beauty we found inside. (I hate to use flash, if that isn't obvious already. It washes everything out, turning beautiful and dynamic places flat and boring.)
More very dark areas, this time with some very bright daylight pouring in:
A shot from the floor at the steps leading down into a smaller room at the back:
Hard to get a really good sense of the place, but this reasonably captured the columns and walls of the main area.
I set the camera down lens-up at what I could see was a detailed ceiling, though I couldn't make out what those details were. One second of light on 7 million pixels of CMOS revealed much more than my naked eyes...
Back outside, rural southern Florence on the left, urban northern on the right:
Before leaving we checked out the cemetery, which was again very beautiful and unlike any we've seen before.
On our way back I decided I had to grab a shot of one of the little cars that frequent the streets of Florence (and, I would assume, lots of other, similarly-tight old cities).
Back to our hotel just for a bit, and a shot of the giant mirror at the entrance:
Then it was off for an afternoon guided tour of Chianti, as in wine. :^) We were first brought to a castle known for its wine-making.
What we saw of Florence was beautiful, but it wasn't the image the mind conjures up when thinking about "Tuscany". Out in Chianti, though, we saw plenty of Tuscan countryside.
We got to go up and be near the castle's crest, but when we came back down and the sun poked through the clouds, it was pretty obvious that this was the correct view.
Inside, many many barrels of wine ferment in oak and await their destiny. Cool thermometer, too!
The mother of all barrels. Floor to ceiling. One doesn't get a great sense of just how huge this thing is from the photo, but it was worth a try.
Many, many bottles:
I had just promised myself I'd start conserving the camera's battery and memory, as neither were infinite and I'd been taking pictures all day. Then, we walked outside on our way to the some wine tasting, and this thing showed up. Honestly, what sort of chance did that give me?
My memory is fuzzy after this one:
...Kidding. But we did try three of the wines shown above. My mouth even experienced one of those cheese+wine moments that I believe is the point of consuming those things together. I'm still a cheese+beer guy, but have warmed up quite a bit to red wine now that I've had some good stuff.
Back outside, near a church in Chianti:
We have a handful of other pictures from our tour Friday, but this one was near the end, and has "blog post ending" written all over it.