Florence Travel Blog› entry 84 of 128 › view all entries
Before I left for Italy, I ran into a friend who I had met at some point earlier in my trip...how crazy is that? She had just come from Italy and gave me some good tips. My train pulled into Florence's train station early in the morning, and I stepped out into another whole new world, another adventure awaiting me here. My adventure in Italy started with me getting a little bit lost looking for the hostel. Not that getting lost is a bad thing, I came to see the city, and that's what I was doing. Exploring! That's what we'll call it! Anyway, I did find my hostel after just a little searching, and I already had an idea of the layout of the town.
After dropping off my things, I headed straight for Florence's Duomo. The 4th largest basilica in the world at the time (and it may still be), it was definitely something I wanted to check out. The square itself was beautiful, with not only the Duomo but there also sat a few other buildings of the same magnitude and architecture. It turned out though, that the Duomo was not yet open. Since today was a Sunday, it was either being used for a service or just opened late. Either way, I took some pictures from the outside and journeyed on.
This took me to Palazzo Vecchio. This palace was built in the 1300's for some of the higher-ups of Florence. I went inside and looked around. I wouldn't say the building was anything terribly impressive, but it was worth a look.
Shortly thereafter, they opened up the Duomo to the public. I went inside to find...that the place was pretty empty. For such a big, impressive building, it was a little lacking on the inside (at least when I was there).
Did I mention it was terribly hot in Italy? It turned out to be even hotter next year when I was there, but at the time I was blown away by the temperature. For some reason though, it didn't really bother me. I had no problem walking around in the sun, although I did find shade when I could. After leaving the Duomo, I headed over to the famous Ponte Vecchio. (By the way, vecchio means old in Italian). I had to use the bridge to cross the river anyway, but I was surprised to see so many people and shops on a bridge! I had even heard rumors that the bridge has secret passages in it and was used for escapes in the past.
This hidden gem is a park on the outskirts of town that offers amazing views over the entire city. as I always say, if you look hard enough, you can find an amazing view of the city you are in. I really do say that! Even if I could go up the Duomo, the shot would not be complete - I want a picture with the Duomo in it. Someone had told me about the park, otherwise I would have overlooked it completely. There were definitely fewer people there than I would have expected. I'd like to think that I got some great shots of the entire city of Florence.
As the sun began to set, I headed back into town through a different route, snapping some photos on the way.