5 days of hit and run for two political capitals and a cultural capital. Vienna, Budapest and Florence await us, for a dip in art and elegance. Departure by plane, travel by bus, then again by plane and then by train. But we are sure that the game is worth the candle, just a pity that the time? always sipped. We will spend one day in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, one in Vienna, the capital of Austria, and 3 days in Florence, before returning home.
With only one day available to see the magnificent Budapest, I preferred to opt for an organized tour.
When the bus started the engines, we all got on board, a nice mix of tourists from all over the world, all eager to see how much Budapest had to offer.
The tour took us through the castle district, what? the old part of the city? within the walls. There are two distinct parts of the district: the city? old town and the Royal Palace. The first ? typically medieval, with narrow streets, nice houses and churches. The Royal Palace instead? it was rebuilt after repeated assaults over the years, and now houses museums and the National Library.
We got off the bus to climb Gellert Hill to the scenic route to see the spectacle of the Danube and the city? view from above. At the top, the citadel and the Independence Monument.
I found that Budapest? built on hot springs, and there are spas everywhere. After a day of touring, we stopped at the Szechenyi Baths, an immense spa facility just a stone's throw from the center. Are there even chessboards like this? fans can relax by playing chess while taking a thermal bath. Fantastic.
Here too only one day available. Are we already? been to Vienna for? fortunately, so rather than a city tour, the goal? attend two events that concern my passions: horses and music.
At the Spanish riding school in Vienna c '? the performance of the Lipizzan stallions, a historical breed that excels in classical dressage. I don't want to miss it.
Are we heading to the riding school, the arena? elegant, adorned with crystal chandeliers, marble columns all around as if you were in a theater. And indeed the performance? a show, the horses, white and very elegant, dance with a divine grace. Neither ? definitely worth it.
The second show we don't want to miss? the performance of the choir of the Vienna Boys that on Sundays accompany the Mass in the BurgKapelle, the Royal Chapel housed in the sumptuous complex of the Hofburg Imperial Palace.
The music and the choir were truly idyllic, divine. Do young boys come up with something like this? extraordinarily pure and crystalline, with their absolutely inimitable white voices. The chapel also has excellent acoustics, so there are all the ingredients for a show like no other.
Do you go straight to Florence now to visit the city? well known as an open-air museum, home of the Medici, Da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo. We were eager to visit Florence, in all its glory, and we have 3 days to see everything we can.
For accommodation we found a truly delightful guesthouse in the heart of the historic center, a stone's throw from the Duomo, and of course we walked around the rest.
Florence yes? presented to our eyes as a small town? medieval, with narrow, cobbled streets, and impressive Renaissance palaces. Incredible how busy such a thing can be? small.
Although we usually try to optimize the time to visit the pi? possible, we spent several hours staring at the David in the Accademia Gallery. Carved from a single piece of rock,? amazing how marble is able to perfectly express the expression and mimicry of human flesh. You can almost see the veins in which blood flows under the skin of the statue. Moving.
Although we arrived quite early, the queue was down. crazy, but ne? definitely worth it. It is one of those masterpieces that you have seen a thousand times on postcards and on TV but which leaves you breathless live. Nothing can? do justice to this divine gift.
We feel rather tired from the transfers, planes, trains, are we already? dusk and we go to give ourselves a little rest in our pension.
On the way back, however, we do not fail to pause for a look at the Duomo, an extraordinary, grandiose building. Its exterior cos? rich, with geometric embroidery on the marble, and the interior with sculptures so? fantastic, like the Piet? by Michelangelo. And all those buildings that surround the Duomo? we are truly in the homeland of art and the Renaissance.
The Uffizi Gallery hosts among the most? great art collections from all over the world. Commissioned by Francesco de Medici, continued by Ferdinando, it illustrates the evolution of Florentine art, with works of enormous importance such as? The Birth of Venus? by Botticelli, the? Holy Family? by Michelangelo. The number of masterpieces in the gallery is impressive, and? extraordinary to think that they are in such conditions? perfect.
We left the Uffizi really overwhelmed by all that beauty, and we decided to indulge in some shopping in the Ponte Vecchio markets.
Old Bridge ? crowded with boutiques selling gold and jewels, and to think that once in their place there were butchers in the time of Cosimo de Medici.
A walk, a look here and there, and we leave with a couple of bracelets and a necklace.
It was getting dark when we headed towards the cathedral, our landmark. We ask the reception to recommend a trattoria to eat typical Florentine food, and we follow the advice not before having drunk a couple of glasses of Chianti.
To the restaurant, let's go already? first and second courses, one each: Ribollita for my lady, and a succulent 1 kg Florentine steak for me! And naturally? more wine, waiter!
The last day we want to spend it walking to enjoy the atmosphere of the city. We really enjoyed Piazza della Signoria, with its wonderful statues in marble and bronze, and with the copy of David. A superlative concentrate of art.
We approached the Church of Santa Croce, with the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli. A masterpiece of Gothic art.
We also really enjoyed the central market, with all that hustle and bustle, the smell of fresh fruit, bright colors and the scent of leather. Is it precisely in the markets that the soul of every big city resides ?!