Don't Forget..., Florence
Favorite thing: Just down the street from the Duomo you will find the Florence Flea Market, a series of small stalls linning both sides of the street for quite a distance. You can find things like touristy things as momentos or fake DG handbags for 10Euro. It is always interesting to spend some time in the markets like this and observe the locals and where and what THEY purchase. And who knows, you, like Tal, might find a new friend as you can see she did in the last photo.
I do like to know what the weather is going to be like, as I usually travel out of season.
When I first visited Italy I became very fond of the authoritative, grey-moustached 'Il Generale' who appeared at 8.30am on channel 1 (RAI 1, at the end of 'Una Mattina') . His forecasts were clear enough for even non-Italian speakers to understand.
But now he has retired and has been replaced by various uniformed younger men, such as the chap in the main photo.
The weather forecasts are still as easy to work out and just as essential if you travel out of season. But somehow, without 'Il Generale' (who, apparently, was never a real general at all) they just don't seem quite as much fun!
Michelangelo's David is one of the most impressive sculptures in the world, if not the most perfect (along with the Pieta). Sculpted in just 3 years(!) by the great italian sculptor, the larger than life (5,17 meters!) high statue, represents the Biblical King David at the moment he decides to battle with Goliath. It came to represent the Florentine Republic, threatened by rival states.
The David statue in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence is a replica - and one of the worst replica (from the multitude of replicas) I can say. The original David is hosted since 1873 by the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze. There are major differences in any part of David's body. Just comparing the faces you can see the sculptor did not tried at all to make a full resemblance.
Favorite thing: Don't forget that a church is a place for silence, where thoughts go for the loved ones, alive and dead. Inside the Duomo you can find peace for soul. Try to ignore the crowds, and become less a tourist and more a visitor of this church as it was your local one.
The poet, Dante Alighieri is one of the most famous citizens of Florence, even if he was catch away by political opponents.
His statue is on the Piazza della Signoria and is used as a perch to the pigeons.
He deserves a statue in each Italian city as the writer of The Divin Comedy and inventor of the Italian language.
Read more on the travelogue.
Fondest memory: Nel mezzo del camin di nostra vita mi ritrovai in una selva oscura ....
If in Florence during summer you cannot miss Carabè, a gelateria held by a sicilian couple Antonio and Loredana. You will there found ice cream, cannoli, cassata, but the specialty is granita, a sort of smooth fruit flavoured water ice.
Fondest memory: Via Ricasoli, 60 (red), a few blocks from the Galleria dell'Accademia and Michelangelo's David.
Gelato stands are everywhere in Italy! We had gelato a least twice a day while in Italy, it's a cheap way to experience one of the wonderful flavor of Italy.
I loved the gelato the best in Florence. "Vivoli": this is a gelato place that is considered the best in Florence (it has the best "Rice" gelato) "Gelateria de Neri": (on Via de Neri street) this is the second most famous gelato place.
Fondest memory: I loved the coconut and Nutella flavor gelato the best!
Cellini's bronze statue dating from 1554 of Perseus beheading Medusa, the snake-headed monster, was intended ti warn Cosimo I's enemies of their probable fate.
It can be found at Piazza della Signoria, a square with loads of different sculptures.
if you're studying abroad, don't forget to bring some peanut butter. they don't really have it, and when they do it's pretty expensive. so bring a jar. but they do have jam :)
other than that, one of my favorite things about florence is the FOOD!
Fondest memory: i miss having un cappucino at the chocolate store on via gioberti.
mmm, i loved it when they put the cup of espresso in front of me and then they pour the milk and i can watch the 2 colors swirl together. . . . and it only costs 1 euro! a small coin!
Don't miss out on all the galleries within the Pitti Palace, you can spend a whole day, or several, trying to see all that it has to offer. From art to furniture, jewellery, carvings, statues, a wonderful place to take advantage of Italy's artistic heritage. Then explore the gardens outside. The views of the Florence skyline back across the River Arno are wonderful.
Fondest memory: The noise in Florence, like most Italian cities, is phenomenal, and the vibrancy of the city together with the masses of things to see, ensures a certain lack of relaxation. Find a good local restaurant, drink plenty of wine, and try and force yourself to unwind.
Don't forget that Florence is the most important city of Tuscany, but
Tuscany itself is a region with hundreds of very important 'minor'
towns: Pisa, Siena, Volterra, San Gimignano, Lucca, Pienza, Montepulciano,
Pistoia, Arezzo, Cortona, every one is worth a visit. I'll be dealing with some
of them in the Travelogues, with more pictures than I included for Florence
Fondest memory: Walking at night, in the dark, along the ancient, narrow streets of the
Medieval centre: I feel like being in the XV century. And then, looking from the
Belvedere on the opposite side of the Arno river, or from San
Miniato, just a
few minutes further along the same road, the centre of Florence, dominated by
the Brunelleschi's dome of Santa Maria del Fiore and Giotto's bell tower...
well, I feel something great in my spirit, a sense of fullness and peace that
takes me away from everyday life.
Favorite thing: When visiting the Duome, everybody should light a candle for 0,50 Euro. Enjoy the beautiful light trees and hope that your wishes will come true.