Florence, the Birthplace of the Renaissance
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Our tour guide had a busy half-day planned for us. Once we checked in at our hotel, we headed for the local marketplace. Cheese, wines, meats, and even plucked roosters filled the foodstalls. Alas, I had a cold, and couldn't smell the food! But the hams and meats looked delicious.
After lunch at the marketplace, we walked through Florence’s leather market, crammed with bags, shoes, and nifty motorcycle jackets. Our guide Antonella told us that if we’re caught buying leather goods on the street, we should run – police will fine us if the goods are counterfeit! But they all smelled like real leather.
We then made our way to one of Florence’s main attractions, the Florentine Duomo
Florence is a beautiful city, beautiful like in a fairytale. At every corner, you can see a princess tower, the tower from the Palazzo Vecchio (the Old Palace). That is how we oriented ourselves. Walking quickly through smaller streets, we reached the Palazzo Vecchio, and saw a reproduction of Michaelangelo’s David displayed in the square, along with other statutes. The pride of Florence, the original statue of David is in the Academia Gallery.
With the fairytale tower behind us, we crossed Ponte Vecchio, now the Jeweler’s Bridge. The Medici family controlled Florence for centuries, and one of them didn’t like the smell from the butcher shops on Ponte Vecchio. He ordered the butchers’ shops close, and put in jewelers’ shops instead. Now, on the bridge, there are shops of gold and silver jewellery.
Ah, the Medicis! There are statues of the Medicis on nearly every main plaza, particularly of Cosimo I, the founder of the Medici dynasty. The Medicis’ collection of art forms the nucleus of the Uffizi gallery. The Medicis also worshipped in a particular church. So powerful were they that they had their own box in the church, just above the door, so that they didn’t have to mingle with the rest of the congregation.
We then headed across the Ponte Vecchio to the Piazza Michaelangelo, where we got the most amazing views of all of Florence. All of us were pretty tired by this point. Our guide bought a bottle of rose, and that’s how we spend the evening, chatting, drinking rose, and looking at the gorgeous city.
Dinner at another family owned restaurant was delicious. Even though I had a cold, I could taste my walnut, honey, and apple dessert. And the dessert table was fantastic.