Hanging up my vagabond shoes

I’m just back from a week in Florence, Italy. Along with the sightseeing, the food, and the amazing artwork in this citta del Renascimento (city of the Renaissance), a fleeting impression cemented a stark image to two in my mind–the what if’s that form the beginning of new stories, new ideas to build on.

But while they percolate in my mind, here are a few images from bella Firenze.

These are from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, more famously known as Il Duomo di Firenze. The dome, a marvel and the largest freestanding dome of its time, was designed by Brunelleschi for this second iteration of Florence’s cathedral of Santa Reparata, and stands 376 feet tall.

Exterior View from left

Exterior View from left. At right, Giotto’s Campanile.




Frescoes inside the Duomo

Frescoes inside the Duomo. At right, beautiful marble floors.

Multicolor floors



Up the block from our Guesthouse, La Casa Howard, sits the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, with its beautiful frescoes and garden and wide piazza that’s a natural for sitting, relaxing, and watching the world pass by while eating your gelato.

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and its Piazza

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and its Piazza

The mammoth rusticated stone walls of the Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace), begun in 1458 by a wealthy banker named Luca Pitti. The house eventually bankrupted his heirs, who sold it in the mid 1500s to Eleonora of Toledo, duchess of Florence and wife of Cosimo 1 de Medici. Cosimo had Vasari make changes to the Palazzo and the de Medici made it the royal apartments of the Grand Dukes of Florence, moving from their old Palazzo (now called the Palazzo Vecchio). It remained the apartments of state until 1919.

Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti

Inside? More luxe than imaginable. Frescoes, paintings, furnishings, carpets, and of course, Boboli Gardens.

Chandeliers in rystal, gold, bronze. Take your pick

Chandeliers in Murano glass, crystal, gold, bronze. Take your pick


Beauty everywhere.

Beauty everywhere.

The grand reception chamber.


By now, I’ve probably exhausted you… or bored you to death. If you’d like to see more, post a comment and I’ll share some more.


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