Friday, March 18, 2011

Florence to Ravenna

On my last day in Florence I found where the panoramic views of the city are: the Piazzale Michelangelo, a whole five minutes from the hotel. Figures. There's yet another David in the middle of the square, but this one is bronze and a home for pigeons. He's not nearly so handsome covered in pigeon poo.
Nevertheless, the views of the city are sweeping. The buildings that stand out are the cathedral and Santa Croce church. They pretty much dwarf everything else.

Santa Maria del Fiore

Florence is crowded, noisy and not particularly clean. But if you have any interest in art, particularly of the Renaissance period, then it's a must see town. I spent five days staring in wonder at this, that and the other and I'm sure I missed more than I saw. The stand out piece, by a mile, is Michelangelo's David. Everyone's seen it in photos, etc, but the real thing is something special.

Michelangelo's David

From Florence I headed for Ravenna on the Adriatic coast. Of course I chose not to take the direct route and soon found myself winding my way up steep, twisty roads again. Have I mentioned that Italy is mountainous? I started to get a bit nervous when I started to see snow piled up along the roadside. The views from the top were excellent though, if a little cloudy. And chilly.

Up in the clouds

Ravenna seemed like a reasonable place to rest up before my assault on Venice. I ignored the intermittent rain and ventured to the marina/beach area for lunch yesterday. There are restaurants all along the beach (which goes for about 30 kms along the coast) but they all seemed to be closed. Probably open in the evening only. Those not on the beach were open so all was not lost. I had a plate of mixed local fish and prawns. Not bad at all! Then I walked a couple of miles along the pier, or one of them, alongside the marina. There are these strange contraptions alongside the pier which I assume are for some sort of fishing.

Some sort of fishing contraption

At regular intervals a large net is lowered into the water and, after a while, raised up again. They all seemed to be coming up empty though.

That was about it for yesterday. I'm being lazy again today, though I'm going to head into the old town centre later. The churches here are noted for their Byzantine mosaics so I better go have a look.
Then tomorrow, off to Venice.