Day 7 in Italy began exactly when we wanted it to, because Friday was our morning to do whatever we wanted!!!!!!
My roommate and I went out together at around 8:30 ish to visit almost all the churches we hadn’t been able to see during the rest of the week. We first went to Orsanmichele, which was first a granary, then a church, and now a place you can visit. It’s basically just one big room with an altar in the middle, an altar to St. Anne on one side, and a couple of worn frescoes on the ceiling. Despite the slightly underwhelming appearance of the church, it was quite lovely and I’m very glad we went. On the outside walls of the church are a number of statues commissioned by the various guilds in Florence during the Renaissance to commemorate their patron saints.
We next went to the church of Santa Croce. Inside the church are the tombstones and/or memorials for practically every famous Florentine that has ever lived: Donatello, Marconi, Dante, Boccaccio, Rossini, Galileo, and even a tiny marker in the floor for Jacopo Peri. Besides that, the rest of the church was beautifully made. Several sections of the floor were actually roped off to preserve the carved effigies of men and women (mostly monks and nuns, I believe) who were buried there. The chapels along the sides of the church were perhaps not as ornate as those in, say, Santa Maria Novella, but they were still quite lovely.
Outside the church there was a display of large squares that were sculpted to portray various scenes of Dante’s Inferno. The sculptor is apparently quite well known, and he sculpted a bust of Ronald Reagan that now resides in either the White House or a museum dedicated to Ronald Reagan (I apologise for my lack of memory).
One of the cloisters was called Brunelleschi’s Cloister, and, since my roommate had been researching Brunelleschi, we stepped inside. I’m not entirely sure why it was called Brunelleschi’s Cloister, as there didn’t seem to be anything that particularly indicated Brunelleschi, but it was still cool.
After Santa Croce we walked across the Ponte Vecchio and looked into some of the jewelry shops there. We also took pictures of the river from the crest of the bridge, as we hadn’t had time to do so when we’d crossed it before. We stopped into another paper store to look around on the other side of the bridge, then ate lunch outside at a restaurant directly across from the Pitti Palace. It was the warmest day of the week, and it felt amazing to be outside. The food was really good as well, and it turned out that the three girls at the table next to us were American students spending the semester in France who had come to Florence on their spring break. We had a friendly bit of conversation, then it was time for my roommate and I to head to class.
The class that day was much the same as on Tuesday: we didn’t really learn so much as talk about what we’d done that morning. It was a good chance to just sit and talk, as well as find out about parts of the city that we ourselves hadn’t been able to see.
After class, I and two other music majors decided to make one last excursion before we left, even though our feet felt like they were about to fall off. We decided to visit the Boboli Gardens inside the Pitti Palace. There were absolutely beautiful: terraced green lawns, masterfully shaped bushes and flowerbeds… We didn’t actually climb up the hill to see most of them, though: we walked in, took pictures, walked down a tiny hill and visited the grotto that was there, took more pictures, and then, thankfully, headed back to the hotel.
(Most of us did actually head out again at about 10 that night, though: we wanted to spend as much time as humanly possible just walking through Florence, because who knows when we’ll get to go back?)
And thus ended our final night in Florence.