Ah, Florence. Here, the roads are paved with stone and squeeze between the terracotta-roofed buildings, most of which you can safely assume are hundreds of years old. Here, our hotel has tower we can scale to view the city. You pass many tourists while walking, and many residents too. There is endless history and art to see, as well, and this city kept us quite busy.
On Day 1, after grabbing a panini and Peroni to go and having lunch in a random square, we made our way to Santa Maria della Fiore, a massive, beautiful church topped by a huge dome. We purchased tickets which (again) gave us the pleasure of scaling endless stairs – 420-something of them to be more exact. They were often spiralling, and often steep, but me and my camera pack survived, and Aaron did too. And of course it was worth the effort: we were treated with a 360-degree view over the city on a bright, sunny day. And Aaron was pleased as punch to examine the engineering of the dome, instructing me to take several pictures of its interior.
The remainder of that day, we wandered the city, stopping often for a sip of wine or two (As has been common, there are many tiny “bars” where you can grab a glass of vino and stand out on the sidewalk to drink it, unless you’re luck to grab one of the few seats). After meandering across the Arno river for a couple of hours, we were shocked to cross back into the main section of the city and find literally thousands of people everywhere. It was late on a Tuesday night! We eventually determined that it was Vogue’s “Fashion Night Out,” whatever that means. It seemed to mean that all the young, fashionable folks came out to wander the streets, and the rest of us lingered to take it all in. To cap the evening, we took some wine to the hotel tower and had it all to ourselves. I snapped some night pictures with the camera and we just took in the scene.
(I’m writing far too much again. Bother.)
Day 2 we awoke to rain, nothing heavy but rain nonetheless. Fortunately, we had scheduled our museum tours (Accademia & Uffizi) that day, which would keep us indoors most of the afternoon. *Side note: expect to endure disorganization and inefficiency when waiting in lines to enter popular places* At the Accademia, we view the David, a massive and amazing sculpture by Michaelangelo, amongst other paintings and sculptures. The Uffizi houses works by Donatello, Michaelangelo, da Vinci, Botticelli, and many others. In between, we stopped for lunch, and the skies opened up, producing buckets and buckets of heavy rain. Ugh.
After the Uffizi, we hurried back to the hotel in the rain, slowly getting ready for dinner while hoping it would stop. It did! At dinner, we shared a giant steak (oddly), but it was amazingly good. Then we again ended our night on the hotel tower, amazed that no one else takes advantage of such a great view of the city at night. It’s probably the view of Florence I’ll remember the most.