Navigating through the capital of the historic renaissance
April 22, 2016
During a last few days in Rome, Sarah and I decided to hop on a train to visit, Florence, the capital of Tuscany.
On our way to the train station we stumbled across a man who claimed he worked for tourist information and so we believed him. He walked us toward the opposite side of the designated place for the train, until two Italians who stopped us and scolded us like if we were their daughters. They told us that that man was a gypsy and to be careful about those who didn’t have an official badge.
We were thankful that those two men warned us and directed us to the correct area. We were finally on the train and the seats were so comfortable, and surprisingly enough the train was not too filled with people.
The way to Florence was magical and it seemed like I was staring at paintings! The natural scenery was so green and peaceful, which made the ride smooth.
Florence is known for it’s historical influence in arts and science, and as the birthplace of the Renaissance. It is the most popular area of all Tuscany and the wealthiest, as well as having an important fashion influence and being the economic center for Italy. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982 and attracts millions of tourist yearly.
The city is also known for its traditional culture, Renaissance art, architecture and historical monuments. It contains a handful of art galleries that have culture and political influence. Due to its artistic influence, Florence has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities of the world, and so I’ve witnessed.
It was a beautiful hot morning and we finally stepped out onto Florence’s streets. Sarah and I wasted no time exploring because we only had 12 hours to do so.
The first place we visited was the Florence Cathedral, which has the largest dome in the world. We hesitated to go inside because the line was very long and we were afraid of missing out on other sites to see.
We walked through the narrow streets of the city and decided to grab some lunch in a nearby café restaurant that served the best and freshest pasta we have ever eaten! Not only was the food excellent, but also the waiters were extremely friendly and the restaurant was set up in the most comfortable way. I actually though of this as my dream kitchen.
The waiters asked to take pictures with us, and it seemed surprising to them to see two young foreigners exploring the city, which is something I found surprising as well.
Once we left the restaurant we made our way to Piazza di Uffizi, where we saw the statues of Leonardo Da Vinci and Amerigo Vespucci, among others. We also admired the stunning sculptures of Loggia di Lanzi, which are located right next to the Gallery of Uffizi.
While admiring the breathtaking art that surrounded the city, we took a handful of pictures and walked long distances to explore more of Florence. We visited nearby markets that cooked fresh organic food and shops that sold handmade clothing.
We noticed that there was a large crowd taking pictures of the famous Fontana del Porcellino (Boar Fountain), where tourists place a coin into the boar’s jaws with the intention of letting it fall through to grant good luck and guarantee a return to Florence.
As it was getting closer to the evening, we headed to our tour of the Arno River. Sarah and I, along with other tourists, got into the gondola-style boat and slid on our earphones that were provided to us by the tour guide to hear the remarkable history of Florence and the Arno River.
The tour guide provided us each with two glasses of traditional Italian wine, to enjoy while riding along the river. Sarah does not drink, so I had four glasses of wine instead.
The man who was paddling the boat allowed Sarah and I to take pictures with him and gave us the chance to also paddle the boat.
Once our tour concluded, we were hungry, so we headed toward where the music was.
It was already nighttime and we only had an hour left in Florence and so we did a little shopping near the Florence cathedral and saw some beautiful paintings that were being sold by a Moroccan.
Sarah and I bargained with him and managed to buy the paintings at a lower price than he was selling it for because we knew how to speak Arabic and because he were living there at the time.
We grabbed a cone of gelato along with our scenic paintings of Florence and headed to the train station to head back to Rome.