After a relaxing train ride, I arrived safely in Florence. The train itself provided beautiful landscapes (when not in tunnels), while travelling speeds as high as 260km (161.5 miles for my American friends)! If this trip did one thing (and it did many!), it reaffirmed my love of train travel! I had been looking forward to this leg of the trip, but was anticipating some rain. I think you all know by now that I love rain...but I love it a little less when I'm travelling. Nevertheless the appearance of rain - in all of its varieties - had little impact on my ability to enjoy every moment of this city. I'm actually fairly certain that I made up the lost time in Rome!
Once again, shortly after arriving at the hotel, I dropped my things, grabbed a quick bite and got straight to adventuring! Originally I had planned on just exploring the city on my own, but decided upon arrival to book a tour for day two. By doing so, it put less pressure on what to do and see on day one.
My first stop was to find water...the River Arno to be exact, with the aim of capturing Ponte Vecchio. It took very little effort to find it, and throughout the 30-ish minute walk, I passed by some spectacular landmarks! The weather at this point was fair, but it had rained while I was eating lunch, and it was pretty clear that the no-rain situation would not last for long. The fun thing about the presence of rain throughout the entire duration of my Florence stop is that it gave views a different edge that made it almost mystical.
|Ponte Vecchio (from the opposite side of the Arno from where I started)|
|When I was crossing the Vecchio, I witnessed some guys rowing.|
|A wider view from the same spot, with the boys further in the distance.|
|This view is of my starting point. The white building with the arches is the Uffizi Museum. |
Fun fact: 'uffizi' means offices - so this building was originally constructed to be an office building!
|The courtyard inside the Palazzo, enroute to the Boboli Gardens|
|Inside the Gardens...|
|A view from the top.|
|To the left of that previous view, is this pathway to the 'floating fountain'|
|The floating fountain|
|In case anyone was wondering where those creepy dog-like things from |
Ghostbusters went... I found them...in the Boboli Gardens.
|Another view of the floating fountain...in the RAIN!|
Day two had an early beginning, once again. I was picked up by a swanky car service and taken to my tour starting point. The driver was from Sussex, and we had a good chat about life in England compared to Italy!
The tour started at Paizzale Michelangelo, where I saw the first of many 'David's.' Next we viewed Santa Maria Novella, before heading to the Duomo. I will say this...Dan Brown did a pretty good job of describing how incredible this cathedral is...but he lied about pretty much everything he wrote about Florence...! The old architecture is simply overwhelming! The last stop for the morning portion of the tour was to Gallarie dell'Accademia, where I had a glance of THE David!
|One of many incredible views from Paizzale Michelangelo|
|Part of the old wall...|
|The first of many David's for the day... this one is bronze.|
|A first glance at the Duomo!|
|As we moved towards a look of the Duomo and Giotto's Bell Tower, our tour guide|
pointed to this section of the city. This used to be the oldest part of Florence, but was
torn down and replaced by these newer buildings...
|Giotto's Bell Tower. Why is it separate from the rest of the building, you ask? |
Well, it's to take into account the vibrations from the bells, themselves!
Apparently this is an A-1 architecture trick!
|Another view of Duomo|
Next we returned into the city centre and made our way to the Arno and Piazza Santa Croce. On the way to the old town hall, we found a Pinocchio photo-stop (which, by the way, I learned Florence is apparently where this weird tale takes place!). Here I was transformed into a REAL boy!
|A random street shot!|
|Piazza Santa Croce|
|Another view of Santa Croce|
|Pinocci-me! With a look like this, it's hard to believe I'm single...|
|Many of the pieces found within the Piazzo.|
|And this one, by Donnatello!|
|And this one...|
|And this one...|
|And, oh look! David number three!|
|This is the courtyard inside the new town hall...which also serves as a museum.|
|The cupid in the middle of the courtyard, and some of the incredible artwork!|
|A different view of the courtyard/artwork!|
|One of the rooms inside the Uffizi. It plays into all four elements.|
|There's a bit of a reflection here, but this was the amazing sunset we witnessed from|
inside the Uffizi, overlooking the River Arno and Pointe Vecchio! Beautiful!
|One last shot of the Duomo - this time at night!|