Bella Firenze!

Florence Travel Blog

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The Duomo

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.

The Duomo

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.

Palazzo Vecchio
  After the walk through the palace, I checked my watch and realized that the Duomo was to open soon.  I headed over there and joined the other people waiting on the steps to get in.  It was there that I met an American couple vacationing in the area.  After talking to them for a bit, they mentioned to me a group of cities on the coast called Cinque Terre.  This was the first I had heard about this, so I asked for more information.  After showing me pictures in their guide book and sharing their experience, I decided it was a place I had to go.  It is a day trip from Florence, so I would go on the 6th.

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).

Ponte Vecchio
  The architecture was impressive, though...and it definitely is a massive building.  I am not sure if you can go up into the dome or not, but I chose not to.  I knew of another place where I could get some good views.

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.

View of the river Arno
  Very mysterious!  I continued along the river and eventually came to my destination - Piazzale Michelangelo. 

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.

From Pizzale Michelangelo
  I shyed away from eating near the train station, and instead looked around town for a good place to eat.  I found a restaurant that offered a 3 course meal (this is quite common in Italy) for a fixed price, so I did just that.  Sometimes it's okay to eat out, right?  It was a nice way to end the day in Florence.  The next day I would head off to Pisa and Siena!

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The Duomo
The Duomo
The Duomo
The Duomo
Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio
View of the river Arno
View of the river Arno
From Pizzale Michelangelo
From Pizzale Michelangelo
The first time I saw the Duomo
The first time I saw the Duomo
Arch in Florence
Arch in Florence
Building near the Duomo
Building near the Duomo
Busy alley
Busy alley
The Duomo
The Duomo
Inside the Duomo
Inside the Duomo
Looking up inside the Duomo
Looking up inside the Duomo
View of the river Arno
View of the river Arno
View from Piazzale Michelangelo
View from Piazzale Michelangelo
View from Piazzale Michelangelo
View from Piazzale Michelangelo
On Ponte Vecchio
On Ponte Vecchio
Florence
photo by: monky