Galileo's finger

Italy day 5: Ufizzi Gallery and how my shoes ate my feet in Florence [YQrtw Day 31 May 8]

Location: Florence, Italy

[I am writing this slightly tipsy from a 3.60 euro bottle of Italian sparkling wine. Hangovers await me.]

The morning was dedicated to the Ufizzi Gallery. The art museum is described as “one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world” by our go-to resource, Wikipedia.

I was planning to take the light rail from the hostel to the train station to save my feet from too much walking but I found out that I would still need to walk if I take the train and that the travel time would be the same.

In the end, I walked to the gallery with the Taiwanese newlywed and a Chinese couple who came yesterday. The journey to the gallery is a 2km walk but with my crazy shoes, it felt like I was walking in hot coals.

I wore the 5 euro fake leather, made-in-China shoes I bought yesterday at Florence’s Tuesday market. I knew I should not wear new shoes when I need to walk but I convinced myself that I will never be able to wear it anytime during the trip anyway.

The shoes were narrow at the toes after I wore my socks. The sole was a terrible rubber that was a far cry from my darling Crocs. I had a few blisters at the end of the day.

When we got to the Ufizzi at around 8:30am, the line to queue for tickets didn’t seem very long. As I have the Firenze Card (72-hour museum pass), I could skip the lines and go straight in.

I got to the second floor (4 long flights of stairs) before realizing that I could not rent the audioguide there. It was another 4-flights down and 4-flights up before I got to start my tour.

Besides the gallery’s official audio tour (6 euros), I also brought along Rick Steve’s audio guide for Ufizzi. I had to juggle using both audio guides during the visit but it was quite worth it.

The museum was packed with great works. It took me about an hour to finish the very crammed first seven rooms.

I particularly loved the Botticelli room because all his female figures are gorgeous. Leonardo da Vinci’s helping hand in the Baptism of Christ, when he was an apprentice, is lovely. Leonardo drew the angels on the left.

No photos were allowed in the Ufizzi and I didn’t even bothered sneaking any photo. I did see many people not-so-secretly snap pictures.

By the time I was done, it was almost 12:30pm. I dropped into the Galileo Museum right next door since it was covered by the Firenze Card.

In the Galileo Museum, the most impressive things were Galileo’s fingers and the terracotta model of fetuses in difficult delivery conditions.

Galileo's finger
Galileo’s finger

Lunch time in Florence

After the museum, my feet were hurting really badly but I still had to drag myself around.

I stopped by tourist restaurant famous for its Florentine steak but ordered the cheaper lunch menu.

Lunch was lasagna and roast chicken. The lasagna was creamy and thick while the roast chicken pale but well-seasoned.

The bad thing about dining out in Italy is that they don’t serve tap water. Instead, they serve sparkling or still water at cheapest 1 euro a pitcher.

After lunch, I had another awesome cafe latte at the pastry store near Duomo.

The next part of the day was filled with a lot of aimless walking. Correction, I was trying to find obscure museums but my Google Map and physical map and internal map wasn’t coordinating.

Even when found sites with signs of Museo XXX, there wasn’t a counter in sight or the counter person said to come back another time. The mystical Italian business hour at work, I suppose.

I ended up visiting only the Opera del Duomo Museum to hide from the rain and to use the bathroom. In Italy, public restrooms can cost 1 euro a go or 50 cents at the nice coffee shop I like.

The greatest piece in Opera del Duomo was the restored Gate of Paradise. The golden panels were too small and high up so I didn’t really give it a good look.

Afterwards, I was hoping to visit another museum before I call it a day. Thanks to my terrible map skills, I ended up in a library with a nice courtyard. That wasn’t where I wanted to be but I spent about 10 minutes trying to read my book.

In the end, I decided to use Rick Steve’s Renaissance Florence tour but I walked in the opposite direction of its starting point.

I did go to one of the points in the audio tour so I stayed there and listened to the file all the way until Piazza della Signoria. Then I followed the audio guide right till the end. It began to drizzle halfway during the tour.

Since I was at the opposite bank, I walked in the drizzle for the cheap gelato. I picked chocolate chip and coffee in a cup. The gelato melted a little while I walked.

From the gelateria onwards, I gave up on humility and took off my shoes. I walked part of the journey with only my socks and a major part of my journey using my shoes as sandals.

When I got back, I realized that a huge blister formed on my toe and even on the soles of my feet where the skin is deep. Why!!

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

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