Dante's (Divine Comedy) hometown is also a bargain-seekers' paradise (3)
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(cont'd...) The sun was winding down when we boarded the bus going back to Santa Maria Novella from Piazalle. Another bus route means different things to see, but then again, it could snag you elsewhere. It happened to us that afternoon. Anyway, we reached our intended destination a little later. The area of Santa Maria Novella is the arrival and departing point of Florence when you travel by train. This is where we finally took a leisurely stroll after being lost.
Within the nearby area is where you find the Duomo, Giovanni Baptistry, and the campanile, among others. Those independent stall owners at the market are spread within several blocks in the vicinity as well.
We walked the cobblestone streets around Duomo to get a closer look of the building. The edifice facade and sidewall are truly stunning; it's made of beautifully arranged planks of white and green marbles all around. The intricate detail does not end there because its tower has its own uniqueness also. Standing beside the del Fiore duomo, the architectural grandness of campanile or bell tower, aside from its height, is its intricately encrustered pieces of marbles of several colours. These types of architecture are clear reminiscent of an ancient era; something that we were grateful to see as we finish our run around the duomo. The baptistry right in front of duomo is another marvel. Because of its octagonal shape and its more than one door, it was hard for me to confirm which one is the main door.
In nearby streets and few blocks from these magnificent buildings are stalls of great bargains. From sculpture reproduction pieces to leather jackets, the bazaar proved to be another exciting adventure for us. Although the atmosphere was typical as in any other open bazaar - for example, with an over-eager stall owner doing his magical sales pitch to unassuming tourists, the absence of sweltering heat during that afternoon made all the difference.
One of the reasons why we enjoyed the place - aside from its weather, was the bargain. For example, remember the 200 plus Euro brand name necktie that I mentioned in my Milan blog? Here it was quite the opposite. For four silk neckties for 10 Euro, I did not mind buying more than I needed. My wife bought her share of the bargain as well, and together we bought neat sculpture replicas and several gifts for our friends.
Minutes later, we were walking away from the bazaar place to catch our evening train to Milan. Tired and our hands full of stuff, we still managed to exchange smiles as if saying to each other: "Europe is not at all that bad when it comes to finding bargain because there is this place - right in the heart the Renaissance birthplace and Dante's hometown, where you will find the most amazing place for bargains! The city of Firenze is indeed a bargain-seekers haven!" :)