Birds of Italy

Marble Parrot table-top, in the Pitti Palace Royal Apartments

Despite the fact that this was an entirely cultural trip, I even left my binoculars behind – first time I’ve done that since pre-1972!, we did manage to see a few birds. Black Redstart, House Sparrow and Rock Pigeon around the city streets, Long-tailed, Blue & Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Serin, Collard Dove, Magpie, Starling and Kestrel in the parks and gardens, along the river Cormorant, Great & Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mallard, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed, Herring / Yellow-legged Gull, Cetti’s Warbler, Pied Wagtail, Hooded Crow and Stonechat, from the train Moorhen, Marsh Harrier and Common Buzzard, and over Florence city walls a single Swallow – Spring is on it’s way!

We also found a few interesting birds in amongst the historical artefacts. This picture, in the Pitti Palace collection, was amazing! Approximately 12″ x 15″, it looked like an OK water colour of a group of birds. Look closer and you see it’s made up of thousands of tiny mosaic tiles, no more than a millimetre square!


Florence – Spring City Break


The conveniently located, if a little noisy, Atlantic Palace Hotel – Florence

We’re on our way home from a short city break to Florence – on Jane’s ‘bucket list’ and a place she’s wanted to visit for ages. We flew EasyJet from Luton to Pisa, caught the train to Florence and stayed at the Atlantic Palace on Via Nazionale – equidistant between the train station on the Duomo. All very easy and convenient. We visited a few of the many cultural attractions including: the Cathedral, Dome, Baptistry and Campanile; the Uffizi; Museo Horne; Palazzo Pitti; Ponte Vecchio; Piazza Della Signoria; Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo and did a couple of City walks. On our return we stopped-off and did the sites in Pisa. Looking forward to a rest now!

A few general views from the historic centre of Florence – beginning with the utterly amazing Duomo

Statue of Brunelleschi, key figure in the design & construction of the Duomo – a founding father of the Renaissance

The Baptistry

and the Campanile – we climbed both the tower and the dome!

Jane ‘leaning on a lamp-post’ and The Dome, at night

The interior of the Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo  – an un-missable stop on any cultural itinerary

Containing this incredibly old and amazing sculpture

and the Penitent Magdalene by Donatello, carved in wood, mid 15th c

Interior of the Horne Museum – my personal favourite

Ponte Vecchio bridge at night

View from inside the Royal Apartments, Palazzo Pitti – during a not infrequent down-pour

One of the paper-making shops

Exterior of the Bargello Museum – the old gaol and one of the oldest buildings in Florence

Finally, in this introduction, a bit of street art.. probably be in a museum in two hundred years time!