I've travelled a bit in Italy before; I've been to Napoli/Pompeii, as well as Orvieto and other small medeval towns in Tuscany. However, Florence felt like the first time I was going to another city (or at least a good one. I hated Naples. I hate that I hated somewhere, but I did). My friend Erin has been studying in Firenze for a month and a half, and I had a free weekend, so I bought an early (and by early I mean God-awful early: 6:55) train there and a late train back.
I met Erin at the Duomo at 9, and from there we saw the David. First off, it's HUGE! I had no idea! It was created to go on top of the Duomo, so its features were all exaggerated to make them more visible from the ground. Like his hands, for example, were just abnormally large. It was so crazy! What really shocked me in this museum was the amount of Renaissance art. You would think that someone going to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, would expect Renaissance art. But I've realized that I've been so surrounded by ancient Roman and Greek art, that I came to think that all Italian art was ancient! Just like I was shocked by the 'new-ness' of Florence. Erin's roommates didn't understand this, for they saw themselves as walking in a history textbook every day. Obviously they are, I'm not trying to belittle the Renaissance, but Roman history just feels so different than Florentine history! Being in Florence made me realize that I've been taking Roman qualities and putting them in my head as Italian. I loved it. It was such an eye opener to me, and I feel like I appreciate Rome even more for the differences. Like the cobblestones. They're in Florence, but they're not the same. And I came back loving the cobblestones, thinking to myself, "Hello cobblestones! I love you so much, despite the fact that you attempt to kill or injure me at least once a day!" I didn't dislike the things that made Florence different, if that makes sense. It's just making me realize how much more special Rome is to me.
Florence is also much more colorful than Rome. The buildings in Florence reminded me a lot of Prague. Not quite the same gorgeous architecture, but the buildings were pink and yellow and orange, and all the roofs were orange terracotta (if I am not mistaken), giving the city a gorgeous color scheme when viewed from above. It was very well planned out. Also, since I understand the whole Italy-has-regions-and-Tuscany-is-not-a-city-but-a-region thing now (yes, I felt stupid when I realized that), I can totally tell what 'Tuscany' is, and Florence is the city version of Tuscany. It's so beautiful. Tuscany is drop dead gorgeous, and if you sleep through your bus or train ride through, you're missing out on the most beautiful views I have ever seen.
The main reason I went to Florence was to see my friend from school, Erin. She's been there for about a month and a half, and I was really excited to talk with her about how we're both adjusting to Italy, and what we love and hate about it, and just catch up. It's so much easier to talk about your feelings of studying abroad when you're with someone else who is in the process of it, because those who haven't don't understand, and those who are done think, "well thats cute, I remember being at that stage of study abroad", and don't necessarily make you feel better when you're feeling afraid or sad or lonely or angry or whatnot. Well, we walked the entire city, she was an amazing tour guide, and then we finally got to sit down and enjoy each other's company. It was so needed, and I am so lucky that someone so wonderful chose to study abroad so close to me! We were so tired that after awhile we decided to take a break and watch a movie before going to dinner. I got my first apperitivo! It's an Italian thing, so you would have thought I would have done it by now! You buy a drink (an overpriced one), and then its a buffet (hence the overpriced). I was unfortunate in the fact that my frist ever apperitivo was amazing. Nothing will compare! Usually its finger food or bruschetta or whatnot, but this was meat, risotto, pasta, fruit, you name it! I also got to chat with her friends, which was fun! Florence is much more artsy than Rome, and it was very apparent in her friends. They all dressed amazing and they all were so interested in learning the culture of Italy... they actually made me feel like I should be trying harder! Haha! But they were so kind, and it made me really happy to see that Erin has such great people to spend her semester with!
I made the train at 21:35 and got back to Rome around 23:10. Though I had a little mishap on the bus ride back to my apartment, I had an amazing day. I am so blessed to be able to go to such an amazing city just for the day and spend it with such an amazing friend! I wish I had more free time in the semester that I could go back!
|The lucky Boar! You rub his nose, and drop a coin from his mouth. If it goes through the gates below, you'll return to Florence! I didn't do it, I like to keep the future unknown :)|
|View of the Duomo from the Terrace! 414 steps up! Entirely too many steps.|
|My favorite Piazza in Florence! Entirely too adorable.|
|The sign of Florence, the Fleur de Lis! Made up of Hard Rock pins, of course :)|
|Erin and I at Apperitivo! Such a wonderful day with such a wonderful girl!|