My last full day in Florence was a Sunday. I woke up early in the morning and after breakfast, walked to the Accademia Gallery. I’d been told to expect long lines on this day but there weren’t many people queuing up at the time I arrived. The reason the first Sunday of the month holds significance in Italy (and also in France) is that many publicly funded museums, and some private ones, provide free admission for all visitors.
I loved seeing the David statue which is ginormous in every sense of the word. After getting the 360 view and marveling at it, I made quick work of the rest of the museum because I was really excited to get to the Uffizi Gallery next.
When I arrived at the Uffizi Gllery the line was insane. The line started with people standing in an upside down “U” formation under the eaves of the building before spilling out into the narrow square.
Close to an hour into waiting in line, I am standing under the eaves parallel to the street that borders the drop-off to the river. There is a lull in the air when out of nowhere we hear a piercing screech and then I feel someone whizzing past me from behind. The older lady I’m standing next to gives me a bewildered look and we peer ahead to see that that the woman who’d been screeching is holding two ice cream cones which are furiously melting down her hands.
Once everyone realizes that no one is in danger, the whole crowd gasps a sigh of relief then bursts out into waves of good-natured laughter. The girl had apparently left the line earlier in search of a treat and it was obvious as she returned to her partner (who’d been holding the place in line) that she hadn’t expected the Florentine heat to do away with their treat before they could get a good lick of it.
The lady beside me offered the couple some napkins and I, in my state of travel preparedness, had wet wipes to offer for their use as well. It’s always disappointing to lose two-thirds of a dessert but this whole meltdown provided some much needed comic relief all of us who had been standing in line for close to an hour.
In the end, I was in line for a little over an hour before getting to the Uffizi entrance and once I got to the door, I almost was not let in because of one little oversight…
TO BE CONTINUED