I can’t believe we’ve been home from our Italy trip for six weeks, and I’ve only posted about two of the stops. I think it’s my subconscious way of holding on to it…it’s almost like once all the updates are done, the trip will officially be over. It definitely was an experience for the memory banks, and glorious Florence was our second stop.
The train from Venice to Florence is cheap (19 euro), fast (2 hours), and mostly in tunnels through the mountains…so a good time to nap off your
hangover jet lag. But only a few short, walkable blocks from the train station, and you find yourself at the foot of the Grand Duomo. And I mean Grand (it holds 20,000 people).
|Check out the chick behind Mr. SP in full-blown pose! Love it. However, the Mister’s socks are questionable.|
We can look at Renaissance art and architecture in books all day long, but until you stand in the shadow or doorway of these places, you can’t comprehend the size and grandeur. That’s what I was most taken with in Florence…the sheer scale of the churches and statues. It feels a bit like Alice in Wonderland…we passed through the Rabbit Hole and became tiny humans in Florence.
I painted the ceiling in Babygirl’s little room, and it almost killed me. I have no idea how the Italian artists did it….but they love a fancy, painted, ornate ceiling!
And gold. They love lots and lots of gold. I was in Liberace heaven. And I challenge you to walk around with your head thrown back, and not
have your mouth hanging open. Go ahead, try it now. Impossible, right?
Like putting on mascara…the mouth just pops open. This has nothing to
do with Florence, but gives you the mental image of what I looked like
the whole time.
We aren’t Catholic, but we always light a candle and say a prayer for our kids when visiting these majestic churches. Then I usually get a little teary-eyed. I know the building has nothing to do with how close you are to God, but there’s no denying the spiritual connection you feel.
The downside to Florence is the crowds…and we weren’t even there
during peak season. Since we hadn’t booked the major museums, The Ufizzi
and Accademia, in advance, they were sold out of reservations for the
week. What kind of European Adventure would it be if I weren’t caught dozing while the Mister hits up a museum?! (Remember this?) I blame this nap on the wine and gelato.
Instead of waiting in line for hours, we spent our time wandering the streets, markets, and lesser-known exhibits.
|Mercato Centrale – large selection of food and oils (great for gifts!), and the lunch counters can’t be beat|
Although hoards of people congregate around the base of the Duomo, very few seemed to climb to the top. Maybe the 463 challenging, claustrophobic, winding steps has something to do with it.
We thought the 8 euro ticket, dizzy spell, and sweaty brow, was well worth it.
The top of the Duomo gives you a great view of the city, but if you want a close-up view of the Duomo, then find a table at the La Rinascente (a department store) Rooftop Cafe. It’s a little pricey, but it’s the prettiest spot you’ve ever enjoyed a glass of wine.
I found this series of pictures on the camera…guess I really did enjoy the
wine view. And yes it’s true, wine is the same price as bottled water in Italy.
We quickly discovered Florence was about the views, so we crossed the Arno River, and hoofed it up to Piazzale Michelangeo for a stunning panoramic shot of the city.
Of course there’s another cafe up there, so we nursed our over-priced drinks long enough to watch the sun set. At this point it hit us that we really were in Italy, and this was really happening.
Dusk is a magical experience in Florence. The crowds practically disappear, and you can wander the romantic, cobbled streets, watch musicians in the Piazzas, and admire the gorgeous architecture.
We didn’t see the original David, but there are several scattered around the city, including one in the Piazza Signoria. This is a great place to sit and watch the street performers during the day, and hear musicians at night. It also contains a free open-air gallery of huge sculptures.
Florence may turn your teeth purple, but it’s so worth it! Are there any favorite spots we missed? Is Italy on your Bucket List? These posts are a mix of personal scrapbook, and my attempt at providing a guide. First-hand experiences (like Lauren’s) are invaluable when planning a trip. Feel free to leave any questions in the comment section, and I’ll get to them, or create a post with them. Up next….the most stunning, magical, jaw-dropping spot on our trip!