Next day was not quite as hot, but still very hot. First stop was for Andy and Tommy to climb the bell tower next to the Cathedral before it got too hot. Meanwhile I went off to look at the street markets, as I didn’t think I could manage 414 steps to the top. While looking at the street market I stumbled upon the central food market. I always like looking at food markets, seeing what there is that I haven’t seen before, or seeing how they display their produce. This market certainly didn’t disappoint. As well as fantastic and mouth-watering displays, there was a stall with the biggest mushrooms I have ever seen, lots of stalls with huge amounts of dried porcini mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes (which were NOT in olive oil) and a couple of butchers where the only item I could recognise was tripe.
When I met up with Andy and Tommy after their climb we had to make a change of plans. We had intended to go inside the Cathedral, but the queue was so long it stretched around the corner, along the side of the Cathedral and round the back. We decided that seeing the inside of the Cathedral wasn’t that important to us. So we went to the Science Museum, which has a huge collection of scientific instruments, mainly collected by the Medicis, and which includes Galileo’s telescope and many of the contraptions he built to prove/demonstrate movement of objects (like a ball rolling down a ramp, getting faster as it went).
Next was a visit to the Baptistry in front of the Cathedral. Its doors are said to have been the first piece of work of the Renaissance, demonstrating depth, perspective and background. Inside the octagonal building is a breathtaking mosaic roof on a background of gold tiles.
Final stop that afternoon was a visit to the Medici Chapels, where many members of the Medici family are buried. Spectacular inside, but unfortunately about half was covered in scaffolding.
Back to the room for a bit of a rest til it cooled down a bit and then out to dinner, which we ate at a restaurant fronting the Piazza della Signorna. Towards the end of our meal an orchestra started playing in the Loggia opposite where we were eating. We enjoyed listening to that for a while, then started chatting to a Canadian family who were also listening. After that we went down to the river so I could see the Ponte Vecchio by night, and then a slow meander back to our hotel. Florence had really changed now that it was dark. It was 10:45 and there were hundreds of people out and about, strolling around, and restaurants that had looked very quiet during the day had spilled out onto the roads.