A few days in Florence is never enough time in a city so packed with precious art and beauty. But, I did what I could, beginning with a visit to the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata and the nearby Spedale degli Innocenti. The museum there was closed, unfortunately, as I wanted to see it - and the square was baking hot.
The Spedale is one of Europe's oldest orphanages and opened in 1445. It allowed women to leave unwanted children anonymously by placing them on a circular stone. After they rang a bell, the stone was rotated 180 degrees, bringing the baby inside the orphanage.
There were some lovely frescos in the loggia around the entrance to the Spedale degli Innocenti including a Visitation that I thought was quite lovely.
And of course, whenever I see a street shrine such as this beautiful Annunciation, I think of my blogging friend Annie who collects shrines of Venice!
One of my favourite spots is the Bargello National Museum of sculpture which is housed in a structure that is more than 750 years old. I find it cool for that fact alone! It is never crowded even though it is just behind the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio.
This grouping of musicians, by Renaissance artist Benedetto da Maiano, was delightful...
...as was this bronze boy who just caught a fish that is still wriggling in his hands!