Florence - Part I
Florence Travel Blog› entry 3 of 4 › view all entries
April 6th, 2009 – by: bebesilvers
We came in to Palaia for coffee this morning. I had a yummy caffe machiato and some little almond pastry thing. The town is small and cute, about 200 ft from one bell tower to the other. There is a little bar/restaurant called Peggio Palaia meaning "worse than palaia". The town was built upon sandy soil and they have to keep maintaining and fortifying the soil beneath it so it wont wash away.
We are heading to Pontadera to catch a train to Florence.
We arrived at the busy train station in Florence and exited by way of an underground tunnel lined with shops and busy with traffic similar to Korea. When we emerged from underground we were in front of Santa Maria Novella. For a charge of 2.50E, me and my mom decided to go in. We walked in through a courtyard, paid the entry at the booth, and were allowed to enter.
The church was breathtaking upon entering, even a bit intimidating. Especially since it is the first church of the day and the first large, old style church that I've been in (our family is not so religious). The first noticeable thing was the size and expanse of space, and then the huge hanging crucifix. With no censorship here, the crucifix, artwork and everything in Italy holds back nothing. It is brutally bloody with plenty of carnage. The ceilings were tall and vaulted. there were frescos of heaven, the devine, and hell. There were crypts and other memorials for the dead important. The first of which i have been too; and in this trip, definantly not the last.
Being close to lunch time now, and Joe and Rocky not being so interested in sightseeing since they've already seen it, we decided to stop for lunch and a small cute cafe called Osteria Belle Donna.
We were now near by Ponte Vecchio. So we strolled that way to see the infamous bridge and to walk over. It is just like in pictures.
At this point, me and my mom were ready for a sightseeing marathon... Joe and Rocky were definitly not ready for that marathon lol and we decided to go our own ways and meet later.
We then went to Santo Spirito next, which is the church with the unfinished front (and also guidebooks say where drug dealers hang out). However, they weren't open until 3:45, so we went to Santa Maria Delcarmine instead which my mom insisted was awesome, but were turned away at the door because we were not part of a "tour group".
We trekked through the city, the cobblestone streets and narrow alley ways, following our guidebook maps to the destination. We came to the entrance leading to a huge staircase. In the quite warm Spring sun, we climbed and climbed, higher and higher, turning back frequently to take a breath and catch the view through the trees. We reached the top. It opened up with a gelato bar on the right, the viewing area on the left, and the church off to the right. We veered off to the right to take in the famous view of Florence.
We then wandered around to San Miniato which from the outside was a very beautiful church. Inside the cool semi-dark church, it was also beautiful. The classic large white pillars, the humongous organ which was the size of a wall was being played by an invisible person. Behind everything, there were stairs down to what I assume was San Miniato's "fake" tomb (his remians have been said to have been removed to Germany.) It was kind of creepy down there, being dark, with the candles sitting around on the tables.
We next came back outside, and sat down for a while. The area in front of the church had a lot of people just hanging out. Mostly tourists and school groups.
We all walked back to Santa Maria Novella and caught the train back to the their villa.
We missed out on some things like Uffizi, Academia, Bobli Gardens, and of course Duomo and shopping but we will have to return to see them. Florence is a big city. You can't cover everything in a day.
Tomorrow I believe we will be going to Cinque Terre. I can't wait!
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