I have to say, I think Florence is my favourite Italian city so far… Venice is totally unique, Rome is larger than life, but Florence has just the right combination of things that appeal to my sensibilities. It’s a good size city, not too large, not too small. You can walk the whole thing and not need public transportation, except maybe to the Michelangelo viewpoint. It is an extremely arty city. Great galleries, and great shops with beautiful marbled papers, handmade papier mache masks and jewellery. Oh, the jewellery! See below for more information about the Ponte Vecchio bridge and what it’s famous for…
I ordered a “Friends of the Uffizi” pass to get into the majority of the museums and galleries in Florence without having to wait in line, but I didn’t take into consideration that the museum is closed on Monday! So, no galleries for me today! As I was walking around the perimeter of the gallery looking for the entrance, this young guy approached me who was selling posters. He wanted to know if I needed help. Then he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was just walking around. He asked if he could come. I said no. Then he asked if I would call him later. I said no. Then as I was walking away I could hear him moaning, Why you go??????????? Oh my god, I almost peed myself I was laughing so hard! Then, about an hour later, I ran into him in a new spot selling the posters, and he came up and (would you believe?) tried again! Can I come, will you call me? I told him I was married and he said we could just be friends. Oh my god, the earnest look on his face… I said, yeah, I’ve heard that one before and he started laughing and I walked away. I don’t tell these stories because I think I’m all that… these guys do this to most of the young-ish women who come to Italy. It’s totally part of the culture, and so adds to the Italian experience. In Naples the men make kissing noises at you as you walk by! That is just gross and insulting. At least this kid was just doing the best he could… giving it a college try. It reminds me of my dog hoping for a treat… forever hopeful.
View from the Ponte Vecchio bridge. Did you know the origin of the word bankrupt originated here on this bridge? When a merchant was no longer able to pay his debts, the soldiers would break (rotto) the table where he sold his goods (banco) and that would be that. The bridge was built in 1345 and spans the river Arno.This is the only bridge that wasn’t bombed during WWII and in 1966 survived the floods where the entire bridge was under water. It’s a survivor this one! Fishmongers and butchers used to sell their wares on the bridge, but in 1593 Ferdinand II put a stop to that (because of the bad meat stench) and ever since then it’s been home to the cities jewellers and goldsmiths.
More lovers locks! Apparently there is a 50 euro fine if you get caught in the act, so be careful if you decide to do this yourself!
Holy jewellery overload batman!
Piazza Santa Croce and Santa Croce Church.
I’ve been really enjoying watching fully grown adults eating ice cream cones…it’s such a classic childhood image and memory. Summertime, Popsicles and ice cream cones. Eating it out of a cup just isn’t the same. I think it’s one of those little things that lets you feel like a kid again, just for a few minutes.
If my feet could talk I think they’d say “Why do you hate me?” I’ve burnt them to a crisp, blisters, calluses, chipped polish. I’ve been so unkind to them, and I am sorry. I do have the slougher off thing, and I use it in the shower but I can’t keep up! I’ve never walked this much in my entire life, and frankly, my feet are not happy with me at all. I will try to be kinder to you feet, and maybe take up biking in the near future.
Here’s a little tip for anyone coming to Florence on vacation. There are two separate sets of numbers for street addresses. Residential ones are black, and commercial ones are red. And they’re completely different and don’t make any sense. I was looking for umber 27, and I looked one way and saw numbers in the twenties, then when I looked the other way the numbers were in the fifties. Huh? So, which was do I do to get to 27? I started walking and the numbers were getting smaller, but at the same time larger. And just to make things even more confusing, some of the old street signs have been left up, so it might take you a while to realise which street sign is the REAL street sign. Oh, gotta love the Italians.
The most magnificent church I’ve ever seen. It’s massive, and just breathtakingly beautiful, and I haven’t even been inside yet! It’s called the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. Work was started on the cathedral in 1296 and finished in 1357. Not bad time frame considering how freaking humongous this thing is. You really have to see it to believe it.
If you want leather goods, Florence has leather goods. Resist… must resist!
Florence also has some fabulous looking bakeries. Will sample some tomorrow.
And candy shops!
I love drinking beer on the street.