Florence is a beautiful city; it is much different than Rome. Florence is very Americanized and everywhere you turn someone is speaking English. The streets are flooded with American students and American tourists. Even when we tried to use our Italian in the shops and restaurants the responses were in English-- which, I might add, I was rather offended by as I have been trying very hard to use my Italian whenever possible. Realistically, it was probably easier for them to understand my English-- as my Italian vocabulary is very limited-- but at least humor me and appreciate my attempt at your language, right?
My favorite part of Florence was the Baptistry constructed for John the Baptist. Not only was the mosaic interior incredible-- the external doors and panels were beautiful! There is also a really great market called "Nuovo Marcato"-- new market; it's very small but full of great souvenirs.
We were there Tuesday through Friday and each day was jam-packed with museums and monuments to see. I managed to sneak a run in on Wednesday and saw an incredible part of the city that we weren't able to see with the group. Maya and I ran all along the river and crossed the Ponte Veccio-- very cool.
Florence was not my favorite city-- party because of the bad weather I think... but The David was incredible. Being a little older now (almost 21...) I really appreciate the art a lot more. I think it also helps that I'm currently enrolled in an Art History of Rome course-- so I actually know a lot about the paintings, sculptures and buildings we're visiting. The David was by far my favorite art piece in Florence-- maybe even in Italy-- I could have stared at his butt all day. My friend Nicolette and I laid down in the middle of the floor to try to get a more accurate view of The David as he was supposed to be seen 100s of years ago.
We had incredible food in Florence. Our group dinner was at Trattoria ZaZa; the next night I went to a little hole in the wall restaurant with a "menu del gournio" which is a menu of the day-- it was hand written and changed every day! Finally, we went to a fantastic restaurant called Acqua al 2 which was incredible, it was a little pricey but we ordered the "Taster" of antipasti & secondi which meant we were able to taste 5 different pastas and 3 different meat dishes. May it be noted that I ate-- and enjoyed-- the extremely red-rare-still mooing meat. We also found the BEST Gelato I've had thus far in Italy at a Gelateria called Grom.
I didn't leave Florence empty handed-- I definitely browsed the leather selections and walked away with a new leather jacket!
This week I am very busy as I have two papers and a project due next week-- unfortunately the weather is GORGEOUS outside and I have no motivation to stay inside and work on my paper. It's also Valentines this weekend, therefore, I have to go on a search this week to find my 'True Italian Love' ha! So I'm not sure when I'm going to have time to work on my papers.. :)
Yesterday, Sunday, was the 64F and sunny; Maya and I went to a park called Ville Borghese which is 30km of trails, fountains, monuments, a small zoo, and a couple of galleries. It was absolutely gorgeous and we ended up walking around for almost four hours. I think I will go back next weekend with my new Italian love and rent bikes for the day-- it's 12Euro to rent for the entire day. Oh! AND if I end up finding three Italian Loves, its okay, because they also rent four person bike carts.
Today we went to the Sistine Cappella-- it was gorgeous. I think we spent around three hours inside the Museum and I don't think we saw more than 12% of the art pieces there. If I were an art major I think I would spend every second of the day in this building-- it really was incredible.
Beautiful weather once again today. Wish I was outside.
Caio a Tutti