In order to complete this walk in 90 minutes you would have to virtually run, or at least walk very quickly and not stop to look, admire, take photos, be waylaid by shops and buildings not listed in the route description. After about 4 hours we decided on lunch and a place that was very nearby, and whose description had caught my eye, was a stall in the Mercato Centrale – Nerbone.
The queue had died down as it closes at 2pm
We joined the queue – first to order and then another to collect – and found seats at a table, although the LV guidebook strongly recommends standing :
“Nerbone is an institution in Florence, and its reputation is well-deserved. It is an informal, improbable place, where neophytes will have difficulty knowing whether to eat standing up, seated, inside, outside, or with their fingers. Tucked in alongside the stalls of the San Lorenzo covered market, it is an integral part of the market’s culinary legend. Nerbone is a historic stand where the famous ‘bollito’ – tender, salty pieces of beef, eaten on a crusty roll – is cooked before your eyes in huge pots. There are two white-tiled rooms decorated with red hooks where you can eat sitting down, but ‘panino bollito’ should really be eaten standing up.”
And so we made our way back to the Piazza del Duomo and the Baptistry (visit included in the Campanile ticket). Stepping inside the Baptistry we were stunned by the colourful 13thC mosaics illustrating the Last Judgement.
Outside, the Baptistry doors are even a work of art. Lorenzo Ghiberti was commissioned in 1401 to design the door panels to mark Florence’s deliverance from the plague. Apparently, they are looked on as the first products of the Renaissance.
From the Baptistry we headed into the Cathedral (Duomo) itself. I particularly noted the following:
Dante and the Divine Comedy by Domenico di Michelino (1417-1491)
Monument to Sir John Hawkwood by Paolo Uccello (1397-1475)
And another amazing ceiling : the interior of Brunelleschi’s Dome
When we emerged from the Duomo and studied the map we realised that most of the rest of the 90 minute walk would be covered by our walk to San Marco the following day so we decided to cut the walk short at about 6 hours and wend our way back to the Casa Guidi via one of the cafes opposite the Pitti Palace.
The Pitti Palace
Some guidebooks suggest itenieraries that would have you dashing around without time to properly take anything in! Your more leisurely approach is mich better 😏
I’ve only been to Florence once for a day’s visit. It was in the summer and I remember it being hot and not ideal for tramping the streets. But the Cathedral and Baptistry doors are marvelous. We didn’t go inside the Baptistry and seeing your photos I regret missing it.
Looking forward to more vicarious travelling in Tuscany via your posts!
Before this trip I had also only visited once before. Also in summer and the crowds and dust and heat were all just too much. I resolved then that the only way to do it justice would be to visit out of season (there were still many visitors) and actually stay in the centre. We couldn’t wait to get back to the country house in the hills where we were staying. I think maybe that is true of all cities to fully appreciate them. A few more posts to come!
Looking forward to them!
I’ve been enjoying Renassaince Unchained on BBC4 recently. Seeing these stunning ceilings and doors for real must be breathtaking. Like the idea of your leisurely stroll including lunch through Florence rather than a 90 minute dash!
I didn’t know about that programme, Fran, I will try to catch it if I’m not too late.