One of my favorite things about Hotel Maxim is that there are computers with free internet in the lobby, which makes typing my blogs much easier than it would be on my Kindle (thanks Mom for sending my computer charger!). The next best thing is that it is serve yourself breakfast, so I can take a couple extra rolls for my lunch. There are also clotheslines strung across the courtyard (Mom: I have already done laundry twice), but unfortunately it does not reach our window.
Today is our first full day in Florence (or "Firenze" to the locals) and it is already so much different from Roma. We ate lunch in a park that actually had grass and there were dogs bigger than footballs meandering around with their owners. A couple of times I have seen the same random person more than once, and the crowds are practically nonexistent except around Santa Maria del Fiore.
That is what our main focus was today, the cathedral. It is less than 100 yards from our hotel (which is right next door to the Disney store), so we have already passed by it a dozen times in our wanderings through the city. This morning we visited Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, a museum filled with pieces of the church. Most of the pieces are the originals of what is currently on the church and others are pieces that are significant. I spent a few minutes sketching Michelangelo's Pietà, which he intended to be his funeral monument. The wooden Mary Magdalene is also in the museum, she has such long hair!
We just returned from the actual church. It opened at 1:30 (ish) and we spent around half an hour or forty five minutes there. Unlike the extravagant exterior, it is rather plain inside. The famous dome has a great mural on the inside, but I think that I prefer the exterior. Though my favorite part is probably the two large tapestries that have horses on them (surprise surprise). The riders' legs are further back than almost everything else that I have seen on this trip, but there is still not that perfect line of building blocks (read Sally Swift's Centered Riding for more info). The horses themselves were rather stout creatures with ample muscling and a thick neck and legs. They were definitely not used as jumpers!
It sounds like gelatto is on the dinner menu for tonight. Several places here serve their gelatto on Belgian waffles (which I have been craving). Other than that we will probably just walk around and find our next hangout spot.