Day 341: Medici VillasJanuary 21 in Italy
Next world heritage site, this one thankfully in Florence as well! The Medici family, who for centuries ruled over Florence, left a legacy of villas and country estates scattered around Tuscany, several of which are included on the world heritage list. Two of them are on the outskirts of Florence, so we hopped on a bus and headed north into the hills to check them out.
The first one was closed (as expected), but we had a good look around the grounds and did the necessary filming. These villas are interesting because they're sort of the first "country estate" type things - prior to this, aristocratic landowners usually had either farms (if they weren't that rich), or castles/chateaus if they were rich.
Walked over to the second one and discovered that it was open, but access was only via guided tour and the next one wasn't for 45 minutes. We decided to wait, and good thing too because the interior was excellent! Totally unexpected, since from the outside they just look like regular Italian country houses, but on the inside it was gorgeously decorated and opulent.
A lot of the decoration post-dated the Medicis, since after their dynasty ended it passed to the Savoys and it eventually became a summer house for Vittorio Emannuele II, the first king of Italy when his capital was briefly in Florence (1865-1871). But it was still very impressive nonetheless.
We'd planned on just making today a half-day, but since we'd had to wait nearly an hour for the tour (which itself was also an hour), it was nearly 3pm by the time we got back to Florence. Quick sandwich at the place around the corner before retiring for the afternoon. Shandos had considered going to the Accademia gallery since it was right nearby (that's the one housing Michelangelo's David and several other of his works), but there was a special exhibition on and you had to pay for that ticket as well, so it was 19 euros instead of the regular 10.
So we both ended up having a snooze! Hadn't gotten the best night's sleep since we're only on the first floor and got a bit of passing foot traffic noise thanks to Saturday night.
Later on we headed out for dinner at Mercato Centrale, a large produce market with restaurants upstairs. I'd hoped to have a typical Florentine t-bone steak, but the price was generally around 50-60 euros so naturally I passed. Instead we shared a sliced fillet steak at 20 euros which was delicious, and then filled up the sides with a couple of munchable tidbits.Read more