(This was supposed to post Saturday... rather than work to update. I'm shooting it up now to buy time...)
In Florence, there are two primary galleries. The Uffizi, which I mentioned here, and the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze. Both are known for lines that can stretch for hours, so we were encouraged to book our tickets in advance.
The guidebook gave me a number for a touchtone ticket reservation service in Italy. Due to the time difference, I got up at 7 in the A.M. and called the service first thing. After I made my way through the menus, I was transferred to an Italian customer service rep. The guide had assured me that the service was automated and in English. I hadn't spoken a single word to anyone yet that day, in any language, so the rep was greeted by my clearing my throat, and sleepily saying something that translates as "I would like... tickets... two tickets... museums... please thank you." She said something unintelligible, then there was hold music, and I was greeted by the voice of a cheerful British woman who took me through the process.
We were planning on a day of galleries, so the Accademia was booked for 8:30 AM, when it opened, and the Uffizi for noon.
We got to the Accademia at 8:15, and there was nobody there. We stood in front of the door until they opened it, and walked in.
We were treated to this:
Words can't describe how this statue is so massive and lifelike. The veins on the back of the hand, the muscles in the legs. Michelangelo was truly a master.
And we had it all to ourselves. Breakfast with David. We stood there for quite some time. Within a half hour, the place was packed, but for a few minutes, it belonged to just us.
We've taken to calling that the Accademia Treatment. On Sunday, we're going to the DIA for the Annie Leibowitz exhibit. I booked our tickets for right when the museum opens, hoping we'll get the Accademia Treatment again. Then, as we do on our museum date days, we'll go to a restaurant, get some food and a bottle of wine, and talk about art. Somewhere along the way, we'll solve the world's problems too. That's our system, and it seems to work.