The Beauty of Florence

January 18, 2015 Tessa Bradford 8 comments

The Beauty of Florence

I was sitting on a bus after leaving the hippie commune, head foggy from wine, wondering where I was going and what I was going to do there. Rachel had to head back to Rome but I was going north to Florence, probably.  

I'd bought a ticket from Grosseto to Florence, but I had to switch trains in Pisa. So I ran out of the station, hopped a local bus, took this very excellent (very hungover) picture of the Tower of Pisa, practiced my Chinese with the Chinese girls that took the picture for me, jumped back onto another bus and caught the next train to Florence. Well worth the detour.

You can't go and not take one of these pictures.
You can't go and not take one of these pictures.

In Florence, or rather, 'Firenze', my phone had already rescued me, because I'd used it to find a couchsurfing host in the city while I was on the train. The bus system is a mad house, but I made my way to the other side of the city, found a coffee shop the host had mentioned, and chilled out with a latte till he arrived.

And soon he was there. Luigi, suave and charming, had me clamber onto his motorcycle and whisked me away through the streets of old Firenze. We dropped my bags off at his place, I showered a week of commune life away, and we headed into the heart of the city. A night of gelato, tapas, drinks, and lively conversation with Luigi's friends made for a very good first impression.

First night in Firenze
First night in Firenze

In the morning I set off on foot to explore Firenze. It's a beautiful city of cobbled alleyways and stone arches, sandstone buildings and glittering lanterns. The shop windows sparkle with luxurious Italian goods of jewelry and clothes and cars. There are museums down every street displaying some of the greatest works of the renaissance. Aging frescoes and triumphant statues adorn every hall, every corner.

The streets of Firenze
The streets of Firenze

I explored the Uffizi gallery where the works of Boticelli, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Rembrandt all hang. I stood in line for hours at the Accademia-- but it was worth it to see the towering statue of the David of Michelangelo. I've never been emotionally moved by a piece of artwork, but David was incredible. All I could do for a very long time was stand and stare in wonder.

At the Duomo I wandered the cathedral, tip-toed through the catacombs, and climbed the bell-tower to see a breath-catching view of the city with its white buildings topped with orange rooftops all covered by a blanket of blue sky.

This is Firenze
This is Firenze

The thing I couldn't shake, however, was a pervading sense of loneliness. I was in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the birthplace of Western art and culture, and a bit of graffiti scribbled onto the side of a church struck a chord more than any of the magnificent pieces of art or architecture:

"Someday I'll be here with someone"
"Someday I'll be here with someone"

Another night out with Luigi and his friends, and I said goodbye to beautiful Firenze. Someday I'll return, with someone I love.

8 Comments on “The Beauty of Florence

  1. I love your blog about Florence. I was there about 7 or 8 years ago and felt the same magical, melancholic euphoria. Some day you’ll draw on those feelings and rejoice in how it makes you feel! Keep up the travelling and blogs.

  2. That’s how I felt in Beijing as Chinese New Year fireworks were exploding all around me. An incredible, indescribable experience, and I wasn’t sharing it with someone I loved.

    We’ll find our co-adventurers someday.

  3. I am a big fan of Florence.. we have almost all of my husbands family here as of last fall so I look forward to returning here. Through the years visiting here I have grown to really enjoy this city- with friends, with my husband and now with my family. Definitely do try to return with a loved one someday!

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