Take at least 47 pictures of the ornate, neo-gothic exterior of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. It’s covered in marble!

Tour the interior of the basilica to see beautiful marble floors, a liturgical clock from 1443 which shows the 24 hours of the hora italica (Italian time), a painting of Dante and the levels of the Divine Comedy from 1465, and the largest masonry dome in the world from the mid-15th century.

Crane our necks to study the late 16th century frescoes on the interior of the dome.

Decline the climb to the top of the dome. Use Mom’s artificial knees as our official excuse. (It worked in Pisa.)

Visit the Florentine Romanesque Baptistry adjacent to the duomo. More craning to take in the spectacular gold mosaic dome. Also appreciate the simpler marble decoration.

Get paninis for lunch at I Frattellini, in business since 1875, followed by gelato.

Visit the Uffizi Gallery and find that Botticelli’s Primavera (c. 1478) and The Birth of Venus (c. 1485) are truly affecting and beautiful.

Try roasted chestnuts. Season brightening ability notwithstanding, decide to leave them on the open fire next time.

Walk down the Ponte Vecchio, Florence’s first bridge, built in 1345, lined with houses that are now jewelry shops.

Have our favorite dinner of the entire week at La Canova di Gustavino. Seated in a small room of wine-packed shelves, enjoy several simple dishes: a plate of cheese and cured meats (and more fruit mustard), crostini with sausage, polenta with sausage and cheese, and warm chicken liver pâté. Try lardo–it’s fantastic! It’s cured fat that tastes much like prosciutto. For dessert: apple cake, a blackberry tart, and ricotta with honey and pepper.

November 14, 2008

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