Monday, October 6, 2014

Florence Street Scenes

To distill the city of Florence and attempt to describe it is a challenge. It is touristy while also being home to many generations of native Florentines. It is modern yet steeped in historic art and architecture. It is massive in terms of its contents, but small enough to be navigable by foot. I walked the streets of the city daily for 5 months while studying the art, architecture and language with my classmates. My mom and I walked the streets for many hours each day during our visit. All of this time spent absorbing the city and I still want more! Florence is brimming! Here is just a small snippet of the sights the city has to offer:

The Arno River
Florentine Lily (fleur de lis) is a symbol of the city.
Door knocker
Sculpture near the new market square - the "new" in the name meaning the 11th century

So much of the greenery and open space in Florence exists in private courtyards behind buildings.  Peeking through gates was one of my favorite things to do this time. One night we even got to be guests for dinner on a private patio in one of those courtyards, but that story is for later this week.

The narrow streets mean narrow sidewalks and roads that are shared by cars, buses, scooters, bicyclists and sometimes pedestrians. You have to be on your toes to avoid getting in the way!

Artisan goods is something Florence is known for.  There were many shops offering leather goods.  The selection was a bit overwhelming, so I didn't do much shopping.  My mom did find a great pair of boots and was even smart enough to talk them down to a "good price" they could both agree on.

3 wheeled pickup truck

Even the plain buildings are beautiful!

In my last post, I mentioned the cold I had when I was flying.  It shifted to my ears in flight and stubbornly stayed there, leaving me feeling like I was underwater. Despite really, really not liking to take medicine, I decided to go to the pharmacy. Thanks to a very helpful blog post, I could easily ask for the equivalent of Claritin D by showing a picture of the medicine I wanted.  Fortified with drugs, we headed out to see the big name sites in Florence.

Ponte Vecchio
 The Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge in Florence that survived the bombings during World War II.  Jewelry shops line the bridge making it unique, beautiful and an epicenter of tourists.

I saw this new tradition throughout Italy where lovers secure a lock with their initials on it to a bridge. The tradition includes throwing the key into the river to bond you and your lover together permanently. As you can imagine, the city is not fond of this tradition.  I wonder if couples are spontaneously breaking up all over the world as the city workers take the bolt cutters to these locks.

Moving along...

A peak into a sculpture studio

Baptistry under construction with a helpful picture affixed to scaffolding

The Duomo in Florence is so massive and ornate that it hardly seems believable.  As you walk through the city, you can frequently catch bits of it in the background.  It doesn't look real in the pictures and it doesn't look real in person, either!

The Piazza della Signoria is packed full of significant buildings and remarkable sculptures. The Palazzo Vecchio is now used as city hall.

Beside the palazzo, there is a loggia that houses some gory sculptures!

A Medici Lion

Coming off from the piazza is the Uffizi Gallery Museum building.

The city is just as gorgeous after dark.

This guy (Dante!) was at the end of the street we stayed on, so we knew if we found him, we were just a few blocks from our home away from home.

Stay tuned for a few special subsets of street scenes over the next few days.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post! Love your eye.


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