I have decided that all roofs should be red, as in Florence. So much prettier than grey, as we usually have here.
One day - the hottest, as it happened - we climbed the hill opposite the main part of the city. The guide book described it as a "strenuous" climb, and while it wasn't particularly strenuous to climb up to get this view (look at all the olive trees) ...
a very steep, smooth and rather slippery road down again - much steeper than it looks here. "It must be very difficult to walk down here when it's frosty," I said to Mr Life. But actually, no one but us was being foolish enough to walk down even on a hot day, so presumably the Florentians don't attempt it in winter.
Then, to get to another part of the hill, we had to go up again. Once more, the road was much steeper than it looks in the photo. This time there were two or three other couples toiling up it, all thirty or forty years younger than us.
And then there was another steep road down, but we were rewarded with this plaque, which seems to say that Galileo perfected his telescope here. He must have been fit, is all I can say.
Still, even Florentian washing looks pretty against a golden building.
Then we walked down to the river again.
We visited the Uffizi and saw Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus", which is totally familiar to me because a copy of it hung in our school. Mr Life pointed out that it seemed a slightly strange picture to choose for a school for young ladies and I suppose it was. Possibly not as strange as it would have been for a school for young gentlemen.
I can't remember what the label said about this painting but I thought it was remarkable that it didn't mention that a monster is about to eat the praying lady.
And look at these flowers offered to the infant Jesus. Aren't they beautiful?
I loved this face, painted in the last quarter of the 15th century, possibly by Filippino Lippi. I wouldn't be surprised to see this old chap on an Edinburgh bus tomorrow, though with a different hat.
Everywhere we went, there were stunning ceilings. I don't think our necks will ever recover.
And can I have this floor, please?
This is one of the many views from the Uffizi. Here we have the mediaeval Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge. (It sounds more romantic in Italian.) It's got shops on it, and when the shopkeepers ran out of room in the seventeenth century, they just built extensions sticking out over the water. These haven't yet collapsed into the Arno so I suppose the builders must have known what they were doing.
And that was just Florence. Then there was Venice - even more amazing, if possible.