The past two days in Florence have been very busy. Yesterday, I arrived to my hostel, Plus Florence, at noon and checked into my room. Then, I went straight to the Galleria dell’Accademia to see the statue of David by Michelangelo. It was as impressive as I remember. I did not like that the museum was holding a modern art exhibit right next to a lot of the pieces of modern art which did not fit the rest of the motif. There was a room with all plaster molds which are all white, but in the middle of the room there was a color statue of a man looking at the water at his reflection. It made no sense. They also had a replica of David with blonde hair and red lips.
“Modern” Statue of David
After the Accademia, I headed for the Duomo. It was as big as I remember, but the inside seemed a bit nicer – it was less gaudy. Then, I saw the golden doors of the Baptistry and grabbed a piece of pizza in the piazza which overlooked the Duomo. Then, I got gelato at my favorite place in Florence, Grom, and went to the Piazza Della Reppublica. They were having an olive oil and wine tasting festival in the piazza (I was there for it last year, too), so I tasted a few different things. My favorite was olive oil with crushed up basil – it was phenomenal.
Olive Oil Market
Then, I headed down to the leather market and tried to find a new wallet, but had no luck. I rubbed the nose of the famous statue of a pig, Il Porcellino, which guarantees my return to Florence as well! Italy won’t be able to get rid of me.
Then, I walked to the Ponte Vecchio just to see the massive crowds of tourists, before turning up the river to take a few pictures of it. After, I walked past the Uffizzi Gallery and sat in Piazza della Signoria for a few minutes. Then, I walked to a place for dinner that has been suggested to me by a lot of my friends – Il Gatto e La Volpe. I ordered a plate of gnocchi pesto which was great.
Ponte Vecchio Shops
After dinner, I stumbled upon the church that Dante first saw Beatrice in, Santa Bargherita de’ Cerchi. My inner geek came out. I was fascinated! It was an old, dimly lit church, but had the graves of Beatrice and one of her other relatives there.
Santa Margherita de’ Cerchi
Then, I went to the train station to cancel my ticket to Verona. Given the recent earthquake activity, I decided to forgo Verona and go straight to Milan. Then, I walked around Florence for a bit before heading back to the hostel where I had a good chat with the people in my room before heading to bed around midnight.
This morning, I slept in until 11:00 AM – a much needed rest. I’ve been waking up between 3:30 AM and 7:45 AM since Thursday. I headed straight to lunch with one of my professors from Penn State, Carolyn Todd, who is teaching here for a month and met her husband. Other than going to the wrong place to meet them, the lunch was great and it was nice to see a familiar face and talk a bit with someone I know.
Then, I walked up to try to go to the Boboli Gardens, but like every other museum in Florence, they were closed today because it is a Monday. I honestly do not understand why every museum is closed every Monday. They should stagger their off days.
Piazza della Signoria
I then headed up to Dante’s old house which was converted into a museum and the inner geek in me came out again. For those of you that don’t know, I took a class on Dante this past semester. It was really cool to be able to think that he wrote his early poetry in the very house I was standing in today. It also had a very cool exhibit on the history of the old political parties Florence – one of which was the reason Dante was exiled from Florence. They also had a mini-movie with depictions of scenes from his Divine Comedy.
After I left Dante’s house, I went back to Grom to grab another gelato – need to maintain my gelato a day diet! Then, I walked a few blocks to take a picture of the intersection of Via del Inferno and Via del Purgatorio. Then, I walked back to my hostel stopping by a souvenir market on the the way.
Tomorrow morning, I will take a wine and food tour of Florence. Then, I’m off to the train station! I’ve enjoyed my time in Florence, but am ready to head to Milan tomorrow afternoon.
Note: This post was originally published on June 4, 2012 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe…Again” which chronicled my post-graduation trip across Europe.