Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Days 3 and 4: Florence, Italy


Watch our video first!!!! ^^^^^
Day 3: We survived our train ride from Rome to Florence. Randall seemed pretty overwhelmed, but we figured it out! The train ride was pretty relaxing and short and we saw some pretty amazing views. Our hotel in Florence is barely a block away from the train station. That’s super great considering our bags are like 50 pounds. I personally am not a fan of toting them around. We got checked in and settled and hit the streets. Florence is our favorite city of the two. I adore the history in Rome. It was a big area of study of mine not just in school, but since my parents sent me to Rome when I was a kid. I’ve always love ancient mythology and Rome will always hold a dear place in heart. BUT it is a trashy city! It’s gross. Florence is clean and friendly and just filled with art and culture. We both love it! We went to the Santa Maria Novella just a block away. BEAUTIFUL! The architecture and detail is just insane. From there we found our way to the Duomo. It is huge! And just gorgeous. Incredibly breathtaking. I stopped dead in my tracks when we got close. After walking around the inside a bit we found our way inside the cathedral area. It was gorgeous. There were statues lining the walls as well as mosaics and paintings. The inside of the dome was painted wonderfully! There are no words to describe the detail and intensity of the paintings. From the Duomo we wandered over to the Piazza San Marco, which is where they keep the original David. Btw Florence is the home of Leonardo di Vinci. We hung out there for a bit. Made you guys a video. Watched a girl try to play the saxophone. Then walked aimlessly a bit until we came across a cool looking old building. Come to find out it is called Orsanmichele. It is a church and we walked around for a bit before some nice lady told us that there were many interesting statues to see upstairs. (She originally told us in Italian and I guess she saw the look of horror on my face so she repeated it in English.) There were around  15 marble and bronze statues upstairs. Again, they were incredible. Down the block from that is Piazza della Signoria. In the plaza we found the Palazzo Vecchio. It is the old palace that is used as the Town Hall of Florence. From there we found ourselves on the river and headed to the original bridge (Ponte Vecchio) of Florence where the market and everything used to be. Now it is lined with jewelry shops. The bridge actually sparkles! It was awesome! I don’t even like wearing jewelry and I was drooling over rings and necklaces. Once we crossed it we found a nice little bar and sat down and ate paninis and shared a salad and some bread. A pretty great way to end our first day in Florence!

Day 4: Our full day in Florence and we over sleep! Once we got up and moving we went downstairs for some breakfast. We had cereal, croissants, and lemon cookies with nutella in the middle! Plus some juice and coffee americano. Gotta start the day off with a big cup of coffee no matter where we are in the world :). Started the day at the Fortezza da Basso. We walked the perimeter of the entire thing. Unfortunately we couldn’t go inside, but it was quite a site to see. From there we headed in search of the University. That was a futile search. We came to assume it just blended into the rest of the city. We walked back over the bridge and headed towards Palazzo Pitti. The oldest parts of the Palace date back to 1458. It was built by a banker and in the 1500’s was bought by the Medici family. It became one of the most impressive art galleries in the area. In the 18th century the palace was used by Napoleon and after the unity of Italy was shortly used as the Royal Palace. We spent the excruciatingly expensive seven euros each for entry tickets to the palace. It was so far the best purchase of our trip. We spent about 3 and a half hours walking through gardens and up and down hills to different parts of the palace. We saw fountains and porcelain and clothes dating back to the 15th century and murals and paintings that yet again took our breath away! We even enjoyed an orange and some cookies on a bench overlooking all of Florence. When we finally had our fill of the Palace we walked down the street and had a coffee and refreshed ourselves. We then walked along the river and then back up even more hills to Piazzale Michelangiolo. About halfway up there was a little garden with some strange bronze statues that we took pictures of. Finally climbing like 100 meters above sealevel we were able to enjoy the sight of a bronze David looking out over the whole city. It started to sprinkle a bit so we headed back towards our side of town. Randall even haggled with someone selling umbrellas on a street corner haha. We checked out the Basilica of Santa Croce, which we had seen all day from across the river. Absolutely gorgeous. It also just so happens to be where Michelangelo and Galileo are buried! Randall then led the way back to the Duomo because he loved it so much the first day! We even checked out some Italian stores. Randall just couldn’t help himself. The boy loves to shop! Haha. That pretty much brings our time in Florence to an end. We walked east, west, north, south, and even up and down for a straight 7 hours today and I am tired. Off to Milan tomorrow!!!
Randall enjoying some tunes and sights on the train from Rome to Florence. 
Getting cozy at the Hotel Montreal in Florence!
Room key is literally as big as an apple. 

The Duomo. 
The inside of the dome of the Duomo.
Cheesing in front of the Duomo.
Just hanging out in Piazza San Marco.

Palazzo Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio (Vecchio translates to old btw)

Hanging out in the market.

Check out that gorgeous girl... I mean view.

Fortezza da Basso

Pitti Palace

Pitti Palace

Boboli Gardens

So many paths to take! Boboli Gardens

View from the Pitti Palace.

The Island Fountain in the gardens at the palace.

Random bronze statue we found.

Another random bronze statue. 

Randall and David at Piazzale Michelangiolo

Basilica Santa Croce

Randall checking out those Italian threads.

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