Firenze, the home of David

Florence Travel Blog

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On my first full day in Florence, I took the trek up the 450+ stairs of the Duomo for fantastic views of the city. The Duomo is the 4th biggest cathedral in the world, behind St Peter's in Rome, St Paul's in London and the cathedral in Seville, Spain... rather impressive indeed! Also walked up to Piazza Michaelangelo where one of the three David statues of Florence is kept. This particular one is made of bronze. The area had more great views of the orange rooftops and river that runs through the city. Went on an accidental side-trip to a rich area of town, where some of the houses were simply amazing! A glimpse into the life of the rich and famous. Had my first experience of an appertivo that night, which is a fantastic idea - all you do is buy a drink and then you have access to a magnificent buffet of yummy snacks and food. I ate enough for dinner, but most Italians aren't cheap backpackers like myself and simply have this as an after work snack. Dinner isn't usually eaten until much later.

I also visited the famous Ponte Vechhio bridge, which is one of three bridges in the worlds with shops on it. This particular bridge houses only jewellery shops, which was an express request of the Medici family hundreds of years ago and a tradition that has been upheld ever since. The Medici family were the 'rulers' of Florence for many years and turned it into the rich art and cultural hub that it is today.

Of course no visit to Florence is complete without a viewing of the 'real' David. As i mentioned, there are three in the city - one is a bronze copy in Piazza Michaelangelo, one copy is in an outdoor public gallery near the Uffizi and the real one is at the Academia Gallery. Although it is ridiculously expensive to get into the gallery that houses nothing of great interest apart from David, it was well worth it! He's a masterpiece! I also visited the Boboli Gardens, which are part of the Palazzo Pitti complex. There are hundreds of statues and works of art scattered through the gardens.. amazing! Had more appertivo on my last night and also got a lock-in at an Irish pub to watch England lose the rugby world cup.. aah, what a shame!!

I had a 4 day side trip to Cinque Terre, but made my way back to Florence specifically to visit the Uffizi Gallery, supposedly one of the best in the country. I had even bought myself a ticket in advance so i could skip the enormous queues to get in. So, I arrived (along with hundreds of others) at the Uffizi Gallery on the morning I had booked a ticket for... only to find out there was talk of a strike! Unfortunately for me (and particularly all the other people that had bought advance tickets!) the strike went ahead. When we enquired about getting our money back, they gave us a number to call, but funnily enough, no one answered when we called... because they were on strike too! Luckily I found someone to buy my ticket from me, as they could use this ticket on another day. So, after all that effort, I never got to see the Uffizi gallery. Damn striking Italians!! Oh well, next stop, Roma!

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photo by: spocklogic