So for half the month of August, I was not posting because I was traveling. Here, I present my photos of food, history, art, architecture, and more.

August 13th – I flew in, and did a little evening shopping, dining, and walking while waiting for Amber, who explored Copenhagen on her layover. Breakfast of the champions? A cappuccino and a cream-filled croissant. Food is such a big feature for us when traveling in Italy, so I indulged in a black truffle pasta. I also love prosciutto, scamorza, mortadella, and stracchino.

We listened to Rick Steves’ Renaissance Walk and Uffizi Gallery audio tour guides, and as always it was both fascinating and enlightening. Many parts of the Uffizi were under renovation (the typical state of things). Did you know there’s a statue of the Duomo’s architect (inventor!), Brunelleschi, south of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore/Il Duomo di Firenze, gazing up at his Cupola masterpiece? He completed the architectural wonder in 1436. We lucked out on the morning we were running for our Uffizi ticket (reservation has a specific time window!), because the Baptistry (Battistero di San Giovanni) doors were randomly open, and the inside was like gazing upon a golden-walled marvel. Lorenzo Ghiberti created the best bronze relief doors on the octagonal Baptistry.


Inside the Baptistry


I really enjoy the statues of the Italian great inventors, scientists, and philosophers that lined the inner court of the Uffizi. The Birth of Venus (Nascita di Venere) by Botticelli, painted in the 1480s, is arguably the single most famous painting in that “offices” gallery. But my favorite is the painted bird ceiling of one room:


Best lunch: handmade panino at Panini Toscani (Piazza del Duomo, 34R, 50122 Firenze). You get to sample three or four different meats and cheeses before picking which will go on your sandwich (olive, walnut, or plain focaccia), along with three or four toppings (e.g. fresh arugula, grilled peppers, marinated eggplant, dried tomatoes, etc.) SandwiChic for honorable mention.

Best dinner: porcini tagliatelle at Gustoleo (Via del Proconsolo, 8, 50122 Firenze, Italy). Such great aroma and flavor, plus delectable fresh handmade pasta.

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And here are the panoramas, to better appreciate such a view, and the perfect weather we had in Italy. This was taken from the Piazzale Michelangelo, which my college friends also went to ten years ago for a senior spring break (incidentally, we ate at Gustoleo ten years ago!). You can see the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno river, the Duomo, the Palazzo Vecchio, and more. I was exhausted climbing up to this lookout point, but my travel buddy, Amber, insisted. She took a nap while I re-hydrated at a life-saving water fountain on the way (N.B. public water fountains in Italy are amazing; I was sad to find them scarce in France!)



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