"Florence: the heart of the Renaissance" or so I learned in virtually every history class I ever took (with the exception of exclusively American history classes of course). I left Rome on the 6:50 AM high speed train and hit the ground running when I arrived in Florence at 8:20. I quickly dropped off my luggage at the hostel and headed over to Galleria 'del Accademia. Even though it was only 9 AM, there was already a queue to get in, fortunately only about fifteen minutes.
There was so much in the gallery, but I'm not the most knowledgable person about Renaissance and Medieval artwork so I'll just show a photo of a 700-year-old viola and the mass crowd of tourists around Michelangelo's "David."
After that, it was off to Mercato Centrale. Outside they sold every sort of scarf and leather handbag/jacket/accessory ever. Inside, they had all sort of Italian food and also my favourite dried fruit, which I've previously only seen in Barcelona and Majorca.
After that, I climbed the 463 steps to the top of the duomo, the cathedral in Florence. Halfway up, there is a little ledge to peer up at the ceiling. It was only inches above my head so getting a photo was a bit challenging.
After some more winding and tiny staircases and hallways, I suddenly emerged to the most amazing view of Florence and the Tuscan countryside!
Getting back down was nearly as hard as getting down because the steps were so steep!
The ticket also included entry to to other sites in the duomo so I visited those next. Below in the ceiling in the Baptistry.
In the afternoon, I finally got to do laundry! I have never been so excited to do laundry before. I also finally made some progress on one of my essays, whe sitting in my hostel's gorgeous garden, complete with Italian fountains. And then it was off for exploring and dinner at the place (Zaza's) a friend recommended. Solo dining isn't so bad...
I fell asleep while my hostel mates (two lovely girls from Hong Kong) were still getting ready with the light on (which never happens) and I slept through the night without waking up until morning (which rarely happens).
I thought that if I got to the Uffizi Gallery early enough, there wouldn't be much of a queue. I was wrong.
An hour and a half later (I had my Kindle so it wasn't that bad), I got inside. It was so neat to see the paintings learned about in school in person. I tried to take some photos, but realized they were rubbish and Google had better photos so I gave up rather quickly.
I was all Renaissance arted out so I explored the river.
Then, I headed to Museo Galileo. There was a bevy of interesting astronomy history, as well as some really neat globes.
There was also a 650 year old map, which wa a gorgeous, if highly inaccurate. I spent ages looking at it. It shows Ireland, England, and Scotland as separate isles on the easternmost edge of the world. Norway is to the southwest. On the main continent, Asia, India, and Russia are all one mass, but out of order. I tried to get a better picture, but it was too large.
I had energy for one more museum, so I went to the Leonardo da Vinci museum, where all of his drawings for machines were actually made. It is crazy how technologically advanced they were.
Since I've been at the train station in Rome, at least seven people have come up to me speaking Italian. I think they were asking for directions. I guess it is flattering to blend in as a local, but I hate staring back blankly and stuttering out, "I, uh, don't speak Italian!" I have found that I blend in better when it's just me, wearing a black leather (well, fake leather, Primark leather) jacket and black boots. Speaking of my boots, the zipper on the right boot is stuck halfway up and after getting caught in a rainstorm, I discovered that they are not as waterproof as I hoped! I always have bad luck when I only take on pair of shoes (a la Iceland) but I hope they hold up!
After 36 hours in Florence, I am all Renaissanced out! It's off to Switzerland now on another night bus; "only" eight hours this time!
Hi, I’m Crystal! Just like you, I love to travel. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 24 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: email@example.comHappy Travels, Crystal
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