back in august we spent 3,5 days in florence, italy. after visiting rome, i wasn’t sure anything could come close to that experience. but florence left me in awe.
our flight arrived early monday morning and our hotel was nice enough to let us check in well before the usual check in time. after we dropped our stuff off, we headed out to explore. another nice thing about our hotel is that it was only a 4 minute walk to the duomo!
we spent a good 30-45 minutes just walking around the duomo and taking it all in. they were in the process of cleaning it, so there was a bit of scaffolding on the back, but the front was breathtaking! maybe what makes it so impressive is the fact that this massive cathedral is placed in the center of the city, and towers above everything. i enjoyed sneaking up on it from the side streets and catching uninterrupted views of its grandeur. without a proper camera, it is impossible to capture the whole cathedral upclose. but that is okay, because sometimes the mental images are dearer to your heart.
afterwards we walked over to the piazza della signoria. the palazzo vecchio (city hall) and loggia dei lanzi further emphasize the impact of the arts on this city. just walking around this square is inspiring and i love how it is continually used as a focal point for modern art exhibits. as this square leads you to the uffizi gallery, it is easy to understand why outdoor art exhibits succeed at the piazza della signoria.
we tried going over to the galleria dell’Accademia – where Michelangelo’s David is. but, we didn’t time it right and the line was winding around the building. so we postponed until the next day and decided to wander around the city instead.
one of my favorite parts of wandering european cities, is that you are always bound to come upon “off the beaten path” surprises. we found some delicious gelato shops and florentine parks. wandering is often our favorite thing to do, even if only to find your way back!
although the other bank of the arno is not as well known, we saw from our map that there are quite a few destinations that could be of interest. we made our way up to the forte di belvedere, free of charge!, and watched the sun set over the renaissance city. the outdoor art exhibit we found the previous day was also displayed at the fort!
galleria dell’Accademia was first on our list…and i can only highly recommend it. not being one to spend my holidays visiting museum after museum, the husband and i both decided that this one would be the one we wanted to visit in florence. we were not disappointed.
to see Michelangelo’s David up close, and to take in its beauty is breathtaking. we took our time going through the other galleries before making our way to David…and a hush fell across the both of us as we walked up to him. i have truly never seen a more perfect sculpture, and now i think it has set the standard for all future sculptures in my life. (sorry, you will only come 2nd place from now on 😉 )
i can’t tell you how long we sat on the bench admiring him, or walking around and taking in all the different angles. but we left the museum in a great mood. we then decided that we would spend that afternoon at piazzale michelangelo – making it the theme of our day! even though this park was created well after michelangelo’s life, there is a bronze copy of David overlooking the city from there. it is also a popular place to watch the sunset – get there at least an hour early to have a decent spot!
we weren’t able to do as much as we wanted in florence, the husband came down with an upper respiratory infection and was bed ridden for part of day 2, and on strong antibiotics the rest of the time. but that just means that we will have to go back…no need to ask me twice!
next time i hope we can take in more of the tuscan region!