What I remember most about Florence was the culture I encountered throughout the city. And by culture I mean gelato!
The train ride from Sorrento to Florence was relaxing and the views were straight out of storybooks. Now I know where illustrators probably get their inspiration.
After settling in our hotel and walking around the streets a little bit, I walked the 400 steps up to get to the dome of the Florence Cathedral (The Duomo). It definitely required some stamina to get up there, but it was absolutely worth the view of the city. Many of the steps were up spiral staircases which I really enjoyed because that way you can’t really see how much more you have to go; it’s kind of a nice relief at every level. It also helped that it was cold both in the church and the staircases because who likes to be in close proximity of other people while they’re sweating as they walk up 400 steps?
At one point, we got to walk almost alongside the dome at one of the higher levels, and the ceiling was fantastic. I’m always taken aback by the domes in European churches. I couldn’t believe how close I was to the ceiling itself.
Just as beautiful was the view at the top of the Duomo. It was about 4 pm when I got up there so the sun was making its way down, and there was a slight breeze. I could have stayed up there for a while, but I heard the gelaterias calling my name from the top of that building.
All of the piazzas and bridges were perfect in the late afternoon. The water and the sky complemented each other more than they usually do. The shops on the bridge Ponte Vecchio were great for window shopping but not so much buying–at least not on my college budget.
Piazza Michaelangelo at sunset was almost unreal. I’m an avid sunset collector and to have that on my list certainly completes it.
In addition to catching the sunset on the Piazza, I also caught the last few minutes of it across from Ponte Vecchio, THAT was another great addition to my collection. As we watched the sun go down, we looked for eels in the water below us and spoke with an American artist who travels between Florence and Connecticut, where he grew up.
The artist’s name was John Melecsinsky, and you should check out his artwork here. He signs everything as JEM, his initials. He spoke with us for a while about his life and passion towards art. I couldn’t concentrate on our conversation after he told me that the Gelato Festival was being held in the city for the next few days. Did you know gelato was invented in Florence? Me neither.
John walked us back to a main town area and on the way showed us a gallery where his art was being displayed. We also watched a man catch a fish in the river together. Firenzian romance at its finest.
He was such a sweet man! I wish we could have talked a little bit longer.
We had dinner and dessert in a small outdoor restaurant and enjoyed a nice walk back to the hotel. It’s amazing how different a city can be when it’s nighttime. More beautiful and yet less.
Later I’ll post about Venice! Feel free to share your stories of Italian travels, I want to hear them!