We arrived at 14:35, and we were taken to this hotel, which is a very good one. After washing up, we went to Cooks, and I found there a letter from Prof. Stroeter inviting us to make his house our home while in Wernigerode. I bought some pretty white lilacs for Mama, and after that went to the P.O. After dinner, we enjoyed the concert, which they give every night in the Smoking Room of the Hotel.
This morning we hired a cab by the hour, and we took Mama to a Mrs. Morris and, while she was there, I went to call on Mrs. Spear, the sister of Tante Henry Nuelsen, who is here on a visit. She invited us to take a ride with her to Fiersole in the afternoon.
We then went to look at the Cathedral called the S. Maria del Fiore from the lily, which figures in the arms of Florence. It was erected in 1296 and consecrated in 1496. The present façade is modern and was erected in 1875 and finished 12 years later.
Here I saw the first good stained glass windows. The interior is very impressive owing to its grand dimensions, but the windows, for some reason, are so dark that you cannot recognize the subjects. The exterior is extremely rich, an effect being produced by slabs of inlaid marble of different colors. The Campanil or Bell Tower is a wonderful piece of architecture characterizing Power and Beauty.
We next visited the Battistero, where all children born in Florence are baptized. It has three bronze doors made in the 14th and 15th century, which are marvels of Art. They show in relief scenes from the Bible. It took six years to make one of these doors.
In hunting for the Medici Chapel, we got into the San Lorenzo Church, one of the most ancient churches in Italy, being founded in 394. We came across Grace and Miss Moran on our way to lunch, and together we went to “Gambrinus” hall where we enjoyed ham sandwiches and Munchner.
We then strolled to the Pitti Palace, which was not open, but a silver offering opened the doors wide, and we had the privilege of a special guide. This imposing building was begun about 1440 by Luca Faucelli, an opponent of the Medici. It became the residence of the reigning sovereign in 1550 and is now the residence of the king when he is in Florence.
The royal apartments are sumptuously furnished, and the girls opened their eyes when they beheld all this splendor. The Ball Room, the Dining Room, with a table large enough to seat sixty, the King’s private apartments, with a fine picture of the Madonna, the Queen’s Throne Room, etc., all contained gems of Art. From the windows in the Banquetting Room, we had a fine view of the palace court and the amphitheatre.
Returning, we passed over the arched bridge called Ponte Vecchio, which is flanked by shops which have belonged to the goldsmiths since the 14th century.
In the afternoon at 4, Mrs. Spears called for us, and we took a ride to Fiesole from where we had a fine view of Florence and the surrounding country. Early to bed, dead tired!