A Taste of Italy: Part 1 – Firenza Day 1

Posted: 22 April 2015 in Travel
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10276020_10152364451251310_5802275387221483546_n Ever since I was a kid, images and memories of Italy and italian things have always been there. There were posters and plates hanging on walls, books, delicious food (which makes sense that lasagna is my favourite food), and knick-knacks all over the house. Most important was the knowledge that my mother had lived in Sicily at one point. I cannot even count the times I would take the slides of her adventures through Europe, turn out the lights in my room, shine them on the wall, and just click through them and dream. So it was only natural that when a previous housemate mentioned that he would be going to Italy whilst I was in England I would invite myself to join him. What marked this trip different from almost all the others I’ve been on is that I didn’t plan any of it really. I mean, I did give input into what I would like to see, but when it came down to booking trains and hostels I did nothing. I also had a travel buddy. Both I have never had before. It was nice being the tagalong rather than the planner. All I had to do was go there and enjoy the country. And I did.

Day 1

Fortezza da Basso

Fortezza da Basso

My biggest fear when booking an early flight is not waking up to my alarms (yes I set multiple). Thankfully I did. I made my way to Stansted and a few short hours later I was on a bus heading from Ciampino Airport to the Roma Termini. Travel tip: regardless which airport you fly into, be sure and buy the roundtrip ticket with the bus (whichever one you get on). It gives you one less thing to worry about when you leave. I met up with John (my travel companion) and we had lunch at the termini. The food was fantastic (as one would expect with italian food), but you just need to be careful when you order. I asked for something that went with the special and they gave me something different so my meal cost a lot more than it should have, but as I was starving I let it slide. Just one of the many instances on this trip that gave me the desire to speak the language before I go back. After lunch, we headed to our train. Here is where you need to be careful. Everyone knows to be wary of pickpockets, but the train station posed another problem. There are many little hoodlums on the platforms looking for targets. What they do is try to help you with your bags and then demand a “tip” for assistance whether actually given or not. They usually travel in packs and surround their target so you can’t just ditch them onto a different train car. Luckily, I only had an american $5 dollar bill and didn’t feel bad parting with it. And so continues my typical loss of money right at the beginning of every trip. 1797377_10152364449886310_7681233805566066650_nFirenza. When I was a teenager, my room was filled with tons of 3D puzzles. I made a goal to get a picture with every one that was an actual landmark. Il Duomo was one such puzzle I had. You can only imagine my excitement to finally be standing in the city where this magnificent edifice resided. Since it was mid-afternoon by the time we got there, as soon as we arrived we dropped our stuff off at our hostel, Hostel Archi Rossi, and walked around the city making the most of what little time the day had left. Our hostel was situated right in the heart of the city so everything was only a short distance away from us. Right down the street we saw the Fortezza da Basso. We were sadly not able to go inside. It is such an awesome looking building. I mean, it’s a fort. In the middle of a city. And it used to have a moat. How cool is that. From there, we headed back down Via Faenza towards the one place in Firenza I wanted to see: Il Duomo. It was just as majestic as I imagined it would be. I don’t know how they do it, but the building still looked new. Amazing. What had always enamoured me about the cathedral was the red dome, which looking around Florence was nothing out of the ordinary. Pretty much all the roofs were red. Naturally, it was too late for us to go inside so we just wandered around the perimeter.

Neptune Fountain

Neptune Fountain

From there we walked down Via del Proconsolo towards Piazza della Signoria. The frustrating thing about travelling is that you will undoubtedly find a million more things to see and experience outside of your itinerary. Or not even get to do everything that you planned as there was so much more than you expected. Walking towards Piazza della Signoria we saw the Museo Nazionale del Bargello. Another cool building yet so many museums, so little time. Piazza della Signoria was incredible. So much packed into one square. There is the Palazzo Vecchio (another museum), the Loggia dei Lanzi, the Neptune Fountain, and right around the corner the Uffizi Gallery. You could spend all day at the PdS and you might get it all seen. The PdS has so much to see and experience and there we were at the end of the day. Tragic really. But it was only the first day. I loved the Neptune Fountain and the statues of the Loggia dei Lanzi. So many beautiful pieces of art set out in the open for everyone to enjoy. SImply fantastic.

Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio

After we left the PdS, we wound our way down some streets and ultimately got lost until we ended up at the Arno with the Ponte Vecchio to our backs. It was so calm walking next to the river. It was nice being away from the chaos around Il Duomo and the other tourist sites. Truthfully, the chaos has put me off of Florence a bit, which is sad since it is a beautiful city. Anyway. Later we met up with my friend Dieneke for dinner at Il Pizzaiuolo before calling it a day. Naturally we all had pizza and it was fantastic.

For a first day, it was filled with much beauty and history. It amazed me to see how much there was to experience. I was also let down by the  chaos. It’s not as if you don’t have it elsewhere, it just took from my excitement. So many people and the awful peddlers. It shouldn’t have surprised me as it was around spring break, but it did. That being said, nothing can take from how awesome it was to finally get to see Il Duomo 🙂

  1. I absolutely loved Florence. One of my favorite cities that I have ever visited. Love the pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

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