I’ve learned the definition of Europe. I’ve been telling everyone “I am going to Europe” – well folks, that means “I am going to CLIMB”! Everything worth seeing in Europe is at the top of stairs, or a hill, or stairs AND a hill!
I brought the rain from Cinque Terre with me to Florence – a LOT of rain! The room I stayed in was in a beautiful old building – just perfect for a night of reading after a great dinner at a restaurant around the corner.
With clear skies the next morning I’m off to the Cathedral di Santa Maria, the Duomo Museum explaining the construction of the Cathedral and it’s amazing dome, the Battistero and the Bell Tower. 414 STAIRS LATER – I’m at the top of the Bell Tower overlooking the most incredible city and the mountains in the distance! Every where you turn there is a piazza filled with people, street musicians, sculptures, museums and activities. A late lunch at a small cafe and then a little nap!
That evening I walked across the Arno river, saw the Ponte Vecchio Bridge at sunset and went to a wonderful recital of an Opera soprano singer and a classical pianist at an old church building. Hearing Chopin and excerpts from Madam Butterfly performed with the acoustics of the old plaster church dome was beautiful! During the performance a huge storm passed overhead with lightening and thunder – but by the time I walked home, the rain had passed and walking though the wet cobblestone streets made for a perfect evening.
The next morning I woke not feeling well but decided to tough it out. I went to the Galleria dell’ Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David, but after standing in line for 45 minutes and not moving I decided to just walk around and see more of Florence. I had an appointment to view the Dome of the Cathedral, but didn’t know that meant another 463 stairs! Half-way down the stairs – they route you through the Cathedral to catwalks that circle the dome where it is attached to the church so you can stand and admire the beautiful paintings that cover the entire Dome – totally worth the climb!
Adhering to my rule of ‘never give up’, I went BACK to the Accademia, started in line exactly where I had left off that morning, but within 45 minutes was standing at the feet of David – the most AMAZING sculpture I’ve ever seen!
On the way home, I grabbed dinner – still not used to pork shank being the authentic cuisine of this area but am glad because it is SO good – then sat in the piazza outside my building and listened to the awesome music by the street performers.
Everyone that I have met on my trip told me I would love Florence – and they were right! Although other cities may have more art and music inside their buildings – Florence has it on the street – at every corner – for EVERYONE to enjoy!