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  • Writer's pictureJane Thompson Hasenmueller

JANEGOes to Florence

Our second stop was Florence, Firenze! What an amazing city, I’d say tourist central, as we were knee deep in tourist groups, and it’s only April. What must it be like in the summer months? I’m glad to not find out.

It’s not everyday I get to wake up to murals on the walls of my room, but maybe when I get home…

In Florence there is art everywhere. Lion’s grace the doorsteps of the palaces, statuary around every corner, and so many museums and palaces to see. We crammed in as much as possible in six days.

At the Uffizi, Caravaggio’s Medusa…

Did you know early Roman soldiers had Medusa on their breastplates to ward off evil spirits? Me either, and so the one thing I wanted in the museum shop was a pin with this painting on it, but no. Sadly, I must be the only one…

But we did find the most important feature of Florence, the wine window at Babae! There are a few that still exist. They were an important feature in the years of the plague in Florence, and in modern times, during COVID.

Yay for wine, because in Italy, wine is 1000 times better than anywhere else, or is it just because I’m actually in Italy. Hmmm?

The duomo was a little underwhelming once inside, but the dome, the dome is incredibly stunning. And it pays homage to Dante’s Inferno, which maybe I should read again. Now that I’ve been to Florence, would I appreciate it more?

I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious the food is here. I loved my years in France for the culture and the food, but Italy…wow! And I keep getting wow’ed at every meal. Seriously good food here. When I watched Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy, after we planned our trip, I didn’t know just how often I would be making those same faces he made, so blown away you can’t even speak. In Rome, Cacio e Pepe, in Florence, spinach ravioli, spinach sautéed in butter and olive oil, and next Bologna, the food capital!

One of my favorite museums in Florence was the often overlooked Galileo museum, a fascinating place. Do people even wonder anymore? The Renaissance was a time of great wondering, trying to figure out how the world worked, how to measure, how to weigh, how to come to terms with the science of everything. Galileo was excommunicated because his wondering resulted in the discovery that the earth revolved around the sun. You heretic you. Disagreeing with ‘the church’ you crazy man. But turns out, he was right and the church admitted that in 1992. 19fkn92!! Over 360 years. Long time to be in limbo, or would it be hell? Hmmm. Below is Antonio Santucci’s, Armillary sphere. All the instruments in the museum were pieces of art. I soaked this place up.

I cannot even begin to touch all there is to see in Florence, but start with the Uffizi, and then one has to see…

Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’accademia. Yes, it is immense and jaw dropping. I’ve seen replicas and pictures my whole life, but to see in person, mind blowing. Beautiful.

Then the Palazzo Vecchio and the Pitti Palace and don’t forget Boboli Garden and the bridge, Ponte Vecchio, lined with very expensive jewelry shops, it was fun to imagine what it would have been like when everyday vendors would have been lined up in the shops selling their wares. And most of all, don’t forget to get something leather. Rome and Florence are the places for that.

That’s Florence. I’m getting lots of ideas from my travel so far. When I get home, not only am I going to paint murals on my wall, I think I’ll put a lion on the steps, or maybe I should consider a howler monkey? Yes, a howler monkey is more fitting for Belize.

Peace and joy my friends,


As a postscript to this, yesterday I learned of the death of my niece, Michelle. She had such a sweet heart for everyone, always lifting everyone up around her. Life is short, fragile and so uncertain. She will be greatly missed.

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