It would take a herculean effort to see everything at the Pitti Palace in one visit. They know it, because they sell two different tickets, one for the Palatine Museum and the main palace, the second for the Boboli Gardens and the smaller museums. Monday was the finest, warmest day we had enjoyed in weeks, so we set off again for the Pitti Palace to visit the gardens and the other museums on the grounds.
The Boboli Gardens rise in a reasonable climb that rewards the visitor with a panoramic view of the palace and Florence in the background, well worth the effort.
The museums included in the gardens ticket are interesting, although they don’t reach the level of the Palatine. The Medici Treasury is tucked opposite the Palatine Museum in the Pitti Palace and worth the visit if only to view the rooms where the Medicis and the successive ruling families of Florence lived and governed. Their collections of gold, silver, wood and marble artifacts, some dating back to Roman times, are nothing if not sumptuous.
Once you have made the climb up the Boboli Garden past Neptune’s fountain, you can then visit the museums of porcelain, fashion and modern art. These are much smaller and can be viewed in less than 30 minutes each.
Altogether, we spent nearly three hours touring the smaller museums and walking the extensive gardens, and now we were ready for lunch. Under warm, sunny skies we headed back across the the Ponte Vecchio to the Piazza Signoria to sit outside at one of the restaurants that line the piazza overlooking the Uffizi, David and the Gucci Museum.
It’s an expensive view. We chose the wrong restaurant. Or maybe all the ones on the square are the same. Our simple lunch of a plate of pasta for me and a salad for Lynn with a glass of wine and a beer came to some 45 euros. The food was relatively reasonable, but the menu did not disclose that a beer was seven euros and a single glass of wine is eight, twice the norm at most other restaurants. And they imposed a cover charge of 15% instead of the customary two or three euros per person. To really add to the insulting greed, when I paid the bill, the waiter made certain to mention that the total did not include a tip. He knew full well the bill did include the tip, because that is Italian law. I paid, but I hate being ripped off.
By the way, the name of the restaurant is Il Cavallino on Piazza Signoria if you ever get to Florence. Trip Advisor’s reviews confirmed our experience. Now we know why there were so many tables available. Don’t go there.
Dinner at Vecchio Mercato that night made up for it all with our first bistecca Florentine and a genuinely delightful piano player. Our meal reminded us of the Steak Knife in New Orleans–porterhouse steak accompanied by wilted garlic spinach and roasted potatoes. A tasty touch of home, only two weeks away now.