Firenze is the capital city of Toscana and I was most excited to explore the area as I’ve never been there before.
What can I say about Firenze? (Or Florence, I tend to use Italian and English terms interchangeably) While it is a city-center area, it has a different feel compared to Rome. As soon as we started entering the heart of the area, the roads begin to narrow and then is completely cut off and it seems the only form of vehicles that was went about were the 2-wheelers and the occasional cars.
Which means that it was great for walking around safely. And while we were there, even though there were a lot of people strolling around like us, it doesn’t have the same chaotic feel like how it is in Rome.
It was already nightfall when we reached there and it was lovely for a going for a stroll.
We started by walking on Ponte Santa Trinita and I enjoyed the breeze in my face, accompanied by the lively music from the buskers. And across the bridge, you will see Ponte Vecchio, which we will get to explore later in this blog post.
I spotted these couple sitting on a very narrow perch and very close to the edge. You don’t see it in the photo, but the bridge was very tall, and I would feel nervous if it were me there!
We continued our walk towards Piazza Santa Trinita where the huge obelisk was.
And look at what I found! Salvatore Ferragamo! Apparently, there is a museum near here showcasing the collections of the famous designer. I would have liked to see that!
Speaking of which, did you know that it was in Firenze where one of my favourite designer, Valentino started to get really famous to become an iconic brand today. Like Milan and Rome, Florence is a fashion capital too.
And as we walked past the obelisk, we passed through a lot of windows with high end labels. The area It reminded me so much of Via del Condotti, the long stretch of road in front of Piazza di Spagna in Rome which housed a lot of luxury brands, but without the chaotic conglomeration of people.
Here’s Hema, posing with one of her favourite brand, Gucci.
I peered through the glass to see if any of the bags she bought from the outlet were in there.
And here is another label that I adore – Dolce e Gabbana. They make such beautiful and feminine designs which will sure to make you feel like a movie star when you put them on.
And in no time, we reached the Duomo di Firenze. It looks magnificent and majestic – with the black and white stripes. It was nothing that I’ve ever seen before, for a church.
We walked towards the duomo and passed by the battistero (which is like a smaller version of a basilica) next to it. By the way, the golden door that you see below has murals and was dubbed by Michelangelo as “The gates of paradise”
We reached the steps at the duomo to rest our feet a while, while I went to look at the carvings a little closer.
There were SO many elements to see, that it can be quite overwhelming if you try to take everything in. But just take into consideration the amount of work and dedication that was put in making them, and putting them together. It was impressive.
Every scene has its own story depicting an important event.
At it was then when I noticed something really funny!
When you’ve been living in Italy long enough, you’d see that this gesture is actually quite rude and I was amused to see it immortalised here. In fact, the whole row had such expressive statues, I think the artist had a lot of fun doing it!
I imagine the conversation to be like this :
YOU! HEY YOU! FLICK OFF!
GASP! OMG! WHAT DID YOU SAY?!
That was rude! That’s not very nice of you.
NO! I DON’T CARE! *stares* PISS OFF WILL YOU?
HUH? SPEAK UP SON! WHAT DID YOU SAY?
We then walked around the duomo and Cart asked us if we felt that it was bigger than, or was the same size as the San Pietro in Rome.
It was quite hard to tell, considering that San Pietro has a huge Piazza in front of it, making our perception different. We continued walking, and I felt as if I’m walking in history – with all the renaissance style buildings everywhere.
Where-ever we walked, there were little artistic touches here and there. Blink and you’ll miss it.
Another thing that I thought was cute was that a lot of their street signs were decorated too!
Who thinks of such designs and are able to incorporate them into street signs? They were quite adorable and I’m sure that we would have seen more, if we had more time to roam the area.
At length, we find ourselves in Piazza Della Repubblica and admired the charming nightlife there.
We decided to step into a pastry shop for a quick bite.
If you recall, the biscuits above are the biscuits that you dip in Vin Santo wine.
After our stop at the pastry shop, we continued walking to burn our sweets away and soon-after, I spotted this :
A Salvador Dali museum. I would have really liked to see that too as I love surrealism.
I snapped this picture because I liked the name, “Beautiful Art Square”
We eventually walked to the back of the Basilica di San Lorenzo and by this time, we were getting a little tired to explore more and continued to the other side to complete our path.
We reached Piazza della signoria where there are a lot of statues here in this square.
But probably the most famous one would be this one of David by Michelangelo. It’s a replica though, as the real one is housed in Accademia di belle arti some 10 mins walk away from the “Beautiful Art Square”
Next to David is the entrance to the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio. You don’t have to pay to enter but it was just about to close so we didn’t explore inside. I’m impressed that it was still open even though it was close to midnight.
Now that I’ve thought about it, a lot of funny images has been inspired by David. Some of the memorable ones are those boxer shorts I keep seeing in those touristy parts of Rome with David’s bits. As well as how David would look like after eating a lot of Italian food.
But never-mind that we didn’t get to explore inside the museum as next to it is the Loggia Dei Lanzi where you could see a number of interesting sculptures.
It’s impressive how Firenze has open air gallery where everyone could come and see, as and when they liked. And at the stroke of midnight, we said goodbye to David and his friends.
Slowly, we walked along the Galleria degli Uffizi and walking past the statues, I could spot out some names that I recognize.
This is Giotto, Italian Painter and architect. Also a famous brand for coloured pencils in Italy.
Donatello – Italian sculptor (And one of the member of Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles)
Michelangelo – Sculptor, painter, architect, poet, engineer … In short, a very very smart person.
Dante Alighieri – Beloved poet and author of The Divine Comedy
We are almost towards the end of our relaxing stroll and I tried to take in as much last minute atmosphere before I left.
And there was something about the area that made me realise how different it was compared to Rome … all throughout our stroll, I didn’t see any graffiti! Not even one! This is most impressive.
It seems that it is a major crime here to deface the walls and when caught will be charged very severely. I appreciated the lack of graffiti. It made the place look more refined and pristine and classier.
We walked towards Ponte Vecchio. Not sure if you could see it well, but someone managed to attach a lock away from the ledge. I couldn’t even reach them with my hands. So how on earth does anyone do that without falling into the river below?
There was a bad flooding in Firenze in 1966 and the water went all the way up to the red line there. I cannot imagine how anyone manage to get through that. I had a little bit of flooding in my neighbourhood and I was already freaking out.
At last, we finally reached Ponte Vecchio. Cart explained that this bridge was famous because there are a lot of jewellers on the bridge. As it was night time, it was closed but I would have loved to see it in action. I wonder if the prices were cheaper here, as the shop owners were said not to have to pay too much rent here.
The area used to be owned by butchers but now the bridge is full of jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. Take a look at the door below, it looks so medieval. And it was not difficult to visualise if anyone wants to do a medieval fair like how it was done in Bevagna.
And that was our little tour in the heart of Firenze!
To end this post, I’m putting up a picture of me in front of the hotel where the Jersey Shore cast supposedly stayed while they were filming their season. Not that I’m crazy about the show (personally, I think it’s stupid) but the idea amuses me.
And this is the end of today’s post.