Hello hello, kids and kittens, folks and felines! I am BACK from Florence, and I have not seen a lick of Tigers baseball since last Wednesday. I did fully intend to watch last night’s game, but 10 pm EST works out to 4 am Florence time, and I was still on Florence time. What I see this morning does not make me all too upset about the fact that I slept right through it.
So instead of talking about that– we don’t REALLY want to talk about that, do we?– I shall instead dive right into the Special Treat I got ready for you guys in Italy: Where in Florence is Ugueth Urbina? a photo journey of a very special former Tiger. I could type up a more detailed explanation, but I think that title, and the photos, will all speak for themselves. (And don’t forget to click the ‘Read the rest of this entry’ link at the bottom to see the entirety of Ugie’s trip!)
Where is Ugie? When we first join up with our intrepid hero, he is somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, enjoying the 6-7 hour flight from Boston to Paris.
Now where’s this? Why, it’s the most tragic terminal in Charles de Gaulle! Ugie finds the airport to be pretty terrifyingly confusing, on the whole (even though he was with me, so language wasn’t a problem. It’s the airport itself).
Ugie’s getting his very first view of Florence from his hotel room window! What a view, eh? It doesn’t remind him very much of Detroit.
He likes to run across the rooftops in the Piazza della Republica, much to the terror of the crowds below.
Now he’s threatening to pour his gasoline into the River Arno. No, Ugie, no! We don’t pollute, Ugie!
Ugie finds this giant Buddha to be somewhat out of place in Florence, but it’s in the Palazzo Strozzi, where there’s an exhibit about China going on.
He has to stop for a nice drink at the Grand Hotel Baglioni. Not too much alcohol for Ugie, though, we remember what happened on the Tigers plane.
Leaping from dome to dome at the Duomo! It’s actually the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, but everyone calls it the Duomo. The famous dome, which Ugie is so manifestly enjoying here, was designed by Brunelleschi, was completed in the mid 1400s, and is obviously still there, which is just crazycats.
Having done his leaping, he settles down to check out the inside of the Duomo. It’s OK, but the outside is much more impressive.
Gracious, now he’s at an anti-fascist/pro-communist rally! Careful, Ugie…
Cheese it, it’s the polizia!
Phew! Having managed to escape the Florentine cops, Ugie stops in at the always lovely Ponte Vecchio to calm himself down.
He then crosses the river and heads over to the Pitti Palace to get his history on. You know, the place housed the Pittis, and the Medicis, and Napoleon, and the royal seat of power, and now a load of art! Ugie’s all about the art.
Behind the Pitti Palace are the Boboli Gardens.
Ugie climbs up to the top of the Boboli Gardens and then threatens all of Florence! Nooooo!
What can distract him from his nefarious plans? A wine tasting at the Cantinetta dei Verrazzano! As a strange-but-true sidenote, our waiter here was a huge Red Sox/Patriots fan. I travel halfway around the world and end up sitting in a Florentine bakery/bar listening to one of the locals chortle enthusiastically about the David-Ortiz-jersey-buried-in-Yankee-Stadium story. Mind= blown.
No visit to Florence would be complete without Michelangelo’s David (this is the copy in front of the Palazzo Vecchio– the original David is in the Accademia, which we did also see, but they don’t allow photography in there, so Ugie had to content himself with this one).
Ugie’s gone and got himself into the Palazzo Vecchio, the former Medici palace and current Florentine town hall!
He then takes a detour to check out the Sinagoga! Actually Ugie would have been content with all the cathedrals, but this wouldn’t be Roar of the Tigers if we didn’t go to one of the most Catholic countries in the world and visit the Jewish temple. You can get more info on the place here if you wish.
Getting in touch with his inner Jew (he never even knew he had one!) makes Ugie very hungry. Time for gelato at Grom, which the RotT little brother (who is currently studying in Florence, and was the nominal reason for the visit) claims is the best gelato in town. Ugie found the licorice gelato to be particularly good.
Since Ugie is all about the art, he of course had to visit the Uffizi Gallery. He saw Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Albrecht Durer’s Adoration of the Magi, Parmigianino’s Madonna of the Long Neck, Titian’s Venus of Urbino, da Vinci’s Annunciation, Caravaggio’s Bacchus, Raphael’s self portrait, and many other famous works. (Ugie may not have fully appreciated this, but I have to say that, as someone who spent years seeing this stuff in textbooks and Powerpoints, getting to see it in person, and so much of it in one place, is an experience that’s really without parallel.)
Ugie finishes up his trip with the celebration of the Italian Republic Day in the Piazza della Signoria.
It was a great trip for me and for Ugie, and now RotT will be up and running again at normal speed (well, maybe normal speed plus minor jet lag). Later today Nate goes up against a guy with way too many CHs and ERs in his name. GO TIGERS!