The day after our Cinque Terre visit, T and I just hung out and relaxed at the hotel while my dad and step-mom took a group tour around Tuscany. We thought we might head into downtown Florence to get a feel for it before going the next day with the parents, but we ended up just lounging.
I’d read a decent bit about Florence. My buddy Brandon and I were supposed to go during our 2013 trip, but we missed the train and decided to nix it. Anyways, I’d read about it back then, as well as after reading Dan Brown’s Inferno, as it’s the setting of the book (don’t judge, his stories are entertaining). He does a good job at making the city’s history intriguing, and I wanted to learn more about it.
We drove to the closest tram station in the morning, and took the train into the city. The first thing I noticed is that it felt like more of the city was about shopping than historical sites. There was a market area dedicated to leather, but there you could find almost anything if you just walked around enough. Almost anywhere there wasn’t a store, there was a vendor.
Duomo di Firenze, AKA the only duomo you care about
Visiting Il Duomo was a given, so we started there. Every time I see one of these gigantic, old, European churches, I’m amazed at how much went into them. You can see a bit of opulence in some American churches, but nowhere near the level of old, European Catholic churches. If you didn’t know, duomo is just the Italian term for a cathedral. And if you also didn’t know, a cathedral is a church that contains the seat of a Bishop. If you also, also didn’t know, a bishop is a piece in chess that can only move diagonally.
The other thing I started noticing more of with these old sites, is how close commercial places were allowed to be constructed. It’s both surprising and not surprising that there are retail stores less than 50 feet from some of these places.
Ponte Vecchio…”Old bridge”
It’s my understanding that the only thing that made this bridge somewhat known was that it had shops built along it from the start. Butchers were there originally, but now it’s mainly jewelry, art, and souvenir shops. On its own, I can’t say it’s all that fascinating to me personally, but what is a bit interesting is to see pictures of what it looked like right after World War II vs. now.
Those are really the only main sights we visited worth mentioning. My step-mother wanted to do a lot of shopping here, so we spent a good chunk of time at the vendor areas. We didn’t mind as the crowds and the distance between sights were a bit wearing. We also figured this wouldn’t be our last time in Florence, so we weren’t dying to cover everything.
We worked our way back to the hotel and called it a night. The next day, my dad and step-mom hopped on a train up to Venice, while T and I drove back to Rome. As I mentioned before, T and I just aren’t enthralled with the idea of Venice, and skipping it meant we would both save a bunch of money/points and get 5 nights in Rome, which would let us roam (get it?) around at our own pace.
Next up: 5 nights in Rome, and some poor choices in non-Italian food.