Friday, 5 February 2016

Birthplace of the Renaissance: Florence (Firenze).

From 4:15pm to 9:35pm we megabussed through a raging storm (thunder and lighting included) from Milan to Florence. Matt and I both slept for most the journey, and ventured through the rain, yep once again, for 20 minutes to our hotel. It was quite hard to find despite being in a hugely central location as their sign was hidden, but they upgraded us for free as it was quite empty so we had a huge room. After settling in we went out to the nearby Lion's Fountain Irish Pub for cheap food and booze. It was a very american bar - US college sweatshirts pinned to the ceiling and a hive of newly moved exchange students. We had a few beers, couple of glasses of wine and eventually stumbled back to our room falling into a deep slumber.

Thursday we headed to the Piazzale Michelangelo via Piazza Della Repubblica and Palazzo Vecchio/ Piazza della Signoria. We also had to cross Ponte Vecchio to get there (the famous bridge in Florence). All of these places were beautiful, and the walk was gorgeous, the streets are so beautiful. They're narrow but colourful and tower above you. You can just get lost in the beauty of the winding streets alone. When we finally arrived, Piazzale Michelangelo was magnificent, there were several stairs up there but it was by far worth it, we ate ice cream and enjoyed the astounding view.

After pizza for lunch, as usual, we headed to Pitti Palace and I dragged Matt into the Museum of Modern Art (€6 reduced student price). It really wasn't as modern as I'd hoped! Ended up rather bored trawling around, but some of the paintings were gorgeous, but on the whole - unless you're a history of art major, or have a really keen interest in it, you might want to skip it. But, for €6 it hardly breaks the bank.

Later, post-nap, we went to the Hard Rock Café for dinner. Though it cost us like €20-25 each, we did get a bottle of wine too and the venue was really great. Also, we've found drinks rather expensive anyway. After, choosing another Irish bar (see the theme here?) we got a few pints and cocktail jugs before heading onto a bar closer to our hotel for tequila shots and cocktails in a €6 special (ridiculously cheap given the expense of everywhere else). Returning back to the first Irish bar, a few more pints later again we ventured 'home', downing litres of water to ease the inevitably impending hangover.

An idea of cost - We spent around €60 each for dinner, 2 glasses of wine, 1 beer, 1 cocktail jug, 2 cocktails and 2 shots.

[Continued beneath photos].

Triumph Arch, Piazza Della Repubblica.

Palazzo Vecchio/ Piazza della Signoria.
Ponte Vecchio.
Girl with Pearl Earring.
View from Piazzale Michelangelo.
View from Piazzale Michelangelo & Ponte Vecchio.
Lion's Fountain Irish Pub top two pictures, lunch bottom left, Hard Rock cafe right.
Museum of Modern Art at Pitti Palace.
Feeling the hangover we didn't do an awful lot. We roamed round the Duomo and went inside (free of charge). We didn't go up the clock tower though or in the other buildings as it cost €15 for a ticket to all of that, no student price offered either. We had a calzone for lunch, and I almost vomited as juices from the cheese kept dripping out of it and anyone that knows me knows I have a real issue when it comes to the texture and feel of food - hence why I am such a fussy eater! So I swiftly chucked that away haha. Instead I opted for a gelato and nutella waffle that made me feel so sickeningly full that again, I had to abandon ship half way through. It was great though, despite the €6 price!

On our walk to the megabus stop we stopped at the Church of Santa Maria Novella and just laid in the sunshine for a while. We walked past a McDonalds that served cocktails - how crazy is that?? It was a fancy McCafé version. We killed an hour in regular McD's before getting the bus at 3pm to Rome.

So overall? I really loved Florence - It's a beautiful city with fascinating architecture and the hub of historical development that I've learnt so much about on my course. To picture the lives and ideas that have stemmed from here is quite baffling. When I first saw the Duomo I actually stared in awe to the point Matt got annoyed I was lagging behind in the rain. It's unlike anything I've seen before and was one of the biggest/ most aesthetically pleasing structures I've ever seen. There's a whole ton of bars and cafés to spend time in. Again, though it had way more to do than Milan, nowhere near as much as Rome. However, I think it'd be a beautiful city to live in as it has a very friendly and beautiful small-town feel to it.

Duomo: Cathedral of Santa maria dei Fiore.
Duomo: Cathedral of Santa maria dei Fiore.
Church of Santa Maria Novella.

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