Florence - a city minus soul (during peak tourist season)
Florence Travel Blog› entry 28 of 31 › view all entries
We arrived in Florence on Tuesday after a 2 hour trip from La Spezia. First impression was of a romantic city bespoked in art and history. This may indeed be true in full or in part, but after a few more hours of wandering (we had to agree entirely with the Lonely Planet Guide on this one), we discovered a city that thrives on the tourist dollar; from restaurants to hairdressers and shopkeepers - there was a tourist radar at every stop ripping unsuspecting (or suspecting) tourists off. Hardly a city that "romantically close during summer" (as it promotes itself).
The hotel in which we stayed at Grand Baglioni (check review separately) was a 4 star hotel which was quite nice, however we were just dudded with a bad room that was underneath the bar which closed at 2am, not a problem if I was in it but not too good when you need to sleep for the next days worth of sightseeing :) After a very restless sleep, we visited the Uffizi the following day - Lonely Planet advised of a long wait and it wasn't wrong :) We waited for just over 3 hours before finally entering (note - no credit card accepted so ensure you have the cash).
After receiving a room change, we slept a lot better and were refreshed for the next day where we visited Gallery Academia where we were able to view Michaelangelo's statue of David. Thankfully a much shorter queue and much better museum overall! The David was amazing! The intricate details carved in the single piece of marble and the sheer size of it! Again a no photo rule so this is the best I could do :) We then walked around Florence some more, did some shopping for gifts and enjoyed espresso and gelati - yet another overpriced dinner and tripping over street vendors peddling dodgy wares finished off our evening.
The last day in Florence (a welcome exit) was greeted by overcast weather which shifted to torrential downpours and hail in the afternoon. This was a truly impressive storm - the wind, rain and hail was amazing. We were of course unprepared for this and therefore fortunate enough to shelter inside a Takeaway Taco shop during the worst of it, the very nice owners that couldn't speak a word of English may indeed have been telling us to get out of their shop - but luckliy non capisco :)
A few factors may have doured our impressions of Florence, but if we return one day, we will endeavour to stay outside the town proper and see a bit more of the Tuscan countryside.