Florence was very briefly between 1865 and 1871 the capital of the United State of Italy before, much to the relief of the taxpayers of the city, the privilege and the expense was transferred to Rome when it eventually became part of Italy in 1870.
I was looking for the inevitable statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi but didn’t find it but but did instead come across the Statue of the Battle of Mentana of 1867 which depicts a Garibaldi freedom fighter during the Third Italian War of Independence when with the secret complicity of the Italian government Giuseppe led a private expedition into the Papal States but which ultimately failed when defeated by French troops protecting the Papacy. Florence had to wait another four years before transferring the capital status to Rome.
My dear friend Andrew, I really do love you to bits (as does my Other Half, Larissa) …so do not take personally anything that follows! It is all said with a twinkle in my eye.
1. The Bryson book you are reading is a SHORT history. Yet I see it shown on your post every day as your current reading! I submit that you must be the slowest reader this side of the Ural Mountains!
2. Only you could go to the magnificent Girona and not walk the sensational Roman Walls. Just as only you could go to St Petersburg and not visit the amazing cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery
(which despite its tiny size, has a Who’s Who of musical and literary greats to rival the fifty times bigger Pere Lachaise in Paris!), or the even more incredible Piskaryovskoe Memorial Cemetery (where lie 420,000 victims of the Siege of Leningrad). But break the news gently to me that you went to Florence and did not go to The PIazzale Michelangelo !! (I hope to find tomorrow that you DID get there: otherwise you will not hear the end of it, when you call in my house for a cup of tea in a few days from now. Ha !!) BTW, do not worry if you have no cheese to bring: the only gift I require from you, is YOU and your engaging presence and conversation that always keeps both myself and Larissa … ENTRANCED.
3. The view from Piazzale Michelangelo is the best urban view I have ever seen ANYWHERE …and that includes the view from the top of the WTC in NYC, The Eiffel Tower and/or the steps of Sacre Coeur in Paris, or that from the top of Parliament Hill in London and/or the stunning viewing platform at the top of the newly built Shard here in the UK in London.
This picture does not come even CLOSE to capturing it, but is the best I can find online. My thanks go to to the blogger who posted this brave attempt at capturing the greatest view in the world:
Looking forward to your visit to Woosnam Towers! And thanks for another entertaining read.
Good Morning Dai
You will be delighted to hear the news that we did indeed visit the Piazzale Michelangelo and enjoyed that magnificent view – http://anotherbagmoretravel.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/florence-and-the-ponte-vecchio/