Something sitting on the side of a building -- at one time, you deposited alms into the hole at the bottom of the cross.
1. Under the category of "things we were not expecting": the weather, most of all. Although the temperature itself is certainly reasonable, somewhere in the 70s, the humidity is something we are totally not used to. I packed enough clothes for 10 days, to get me to the painting workshop where I can do a load of laundry, but so far we have sweated through every single thing we brought with us, and it's starting to feel pretty yucky. I've tried to wash a few items, but they're taking forever to dry. It also rains from time to time, which is just fine with us because we're so hot! However, the other side of this is that in the evening, the weather is glorious, not hot, not cool, just perfect. We have not eaten a single dinner inside a restaurant -- we've eaten outdoors every night, and have not changed tables when any sprinkles began to fall. It's just wonderful.
A selection of wonderful cheeses at the Mercato Centrale
2. We didn't think that Italy was going to be threatening to life and limb, but it is. First, you have the cobblestone streets -- I've googled their history in Florence, and the only thing I can find is that the streets were paved in the 1300's. Can they be the same stones?? So the cobblestones are bad enough under normal circumstances, full of nooks and crannies and things to trip over, but when it rains -- mama mia! They are so slippery that I'm sure I must look like a 100 year old nonna, carefully picking my way down the street. But it's not only that -- the wood floors in our hotel room are so slick, I've slipped in my bare feet! And it would be funny to see a video of either of us getting in and out of the shower (okay, maybe more horrifying than funny), because both the tub and floors are lethal. If I get home without breaking a hip or ankle or wrist, it will be a miracle. And no, I do not wish that I hadn't come! I could stay here forever.
An unfinished monument by Michelangelo dedicated to Lorenzo the Magnificent
3. We also didn't expect things to be as congested as they are at this time of year. Both Venice and Florence are full of tourists, to the point where just getting around on the narrow sidewalks is difficult. We tried to go to the Accademia today to see the David, but the line was so long and we didn't want to pay the premium to get "skip the line" tickets. So tomorrow we will try again, with tickets for a particular entry time.
All roads lead to Il Duomo
So, another amazing day in Italy. There are so many things to see, anywhere you look. At dinner tonight, we suddenly noticed a plaque on the building across the street, commemorating the time that Milton lived there between 1638 and 1639. We're just blown away.