I’m sitting here in Tuscany on a hillside in a farmhouse relaxing while my hardworking husband does his job. What a blessing to be on this trip with him! It’s been a whirlwind going all over Italy so that he can do his work at the military bases and I’m glad for a breather. Even though I’ve been taking notes, our adventures thus far are already getting a little blurry. But, I think I can remember Florence. Awww, Florence. On our first Italy trip in 2011, we had one day scheduled to visit Florence. But that day was rainy and I was not feeling well. We drove our car to the city and couldn’t find parking. We did find a parking lot across the river up on a hill and took photos of the city from there. It was totally socked in with rain and fog.
I was still impressed by the sheer size of the Duomo (church) in the middle of the city. And as I stood there enjoying it, I noticed a little break in the clouds off in the distance. It looked like if I was patient, a beam of sunshine might just light up the Duomo. So, we watched and waited for an hour and I was rewarded with a beautiful shot of Florence.
Still, I was disappointed that it didn’t work out to visit all the places I had heard about in Florence. This time, we would have one afternoon and one morning to explore a bit. After going around the block a few times, we finally found our accommodations, Hotel David.
What a beautiful hotel with extremely helpful staff. I was unsure as to how to go about doing the things I wanted us to do in Florence, but Chiara and Michael planned it out for us. They arranged for tickets and explained the bus system. We were on our way to see the Duomo!
This gorgeous building looked big from afar, but it loomed humongously amongst the other buildings. After seeing how large it looked in comparison to the other buildings I thought that those other ones must have been just two stories high. But they were 5 stories high! We rarely go to cities and I’m always surprised at the closeness. Even with a map, it gets confusing finding where you are trying to go. But that Duomo, that is hard to miss! After seeing two different lines to enter the Duomo, we got into the one that wasn’t priority. The line was long, but not as bad as I had heard it could be. We waited about 45 minutes and I struck up a conversation with the people in front of us. Even though they were from France, they spoke wonder English. Our chat passed the time quickly and I was excited when it was out turn to enter. Suddenly we noticed that other people already had tickets. Weren’t they selling tickets at the door?! Well, no. And the man wasn’t very helpful in telling us where to purchase them. After wandering around a bit we finally got the needed tickets. Would he let us in since he knew we had already waited? No! So back to the end of the line we went again.
This time the line was shorter, but now even though the dome was still open, the rest of the church was closed. I was a bit disappointed, but climbing the dome was the main attraction for me. As I climbed the 463 steps I began questioning my sanity. There was no room to step aside to take a break and there were many people behind me eager to get to the top. So with heaving breaths I continued up the steps in the stifling heat. There are times that being tall is a disadvantage and this was one of them. As we got closer to the top, the ceiling sloped with the dome making us lean strangely to the side as we climbed. Part way up there was a door into the inside of the dome. There you could see up close the painting of the Last Judgement by Giorgio Vasari on the dome interior.
Back to more steps. By this time, I was really looking forward to getting into fresh air again. At the last most close part towards the top, the steps were probably only a foot wide and we had to be bent way over, but people were trying to come down the same steps at the same time. Somehow we did it and were rewarded with a gorgeous view of a lovely city.
As we enjoyed the sights and revived from the climb, we spoke with a young man from England. He introduced the woman with him as his traveling companion. We are still trying to figure that one out. lol. Suddenly, bells were ringing all over the city, including the one in the bell tower next to the Duomo. Awww, what a beautiful sound. One I will always treasure.
After climbing back down, we were surprised to see the couple from France. We spoke some more, took pics and then she invited us to come visit them in France some day. I truly would love to visit Evelyne and Bernard at their B&B in France.
By this time, most everything I wanted to see was closed. But that’s okay when you are in a place like Florence. Dinner outside with a street musician playing is a wonderful way to end a perfect day. And we still had another partial day in Florence. It was up early the next day to see David. Our hosts at the hotel at already gotten tickets for us, so we didn’t have to wait in line twice. That made us pretty happy! Michelangelo’s masterpiece of the giant slayer is housed in the Galleria dell’Accademia. First they have you walk through rooms full of art from various churches. These were beautiful, but I wanted to see David. Then, we rounded a corner and there he was!
After another beautiful meal outside, we needed to head back to our car and drive to our next destination. First, I wanted to buy an art journal in this city of art. I looked it up and there is an art supply store in the middle of the city that artists have gone to for years. I had to find it! And we did find Zecchi and I have a lovely momento of the art filled city. Such a beautiful place! One I would love to visit again.Don’t miss the other posts from this trip! Italy 2015 #1, Italy 2015 #2, Italy 2015 #3