So I try and cast aside any preconceptions I have about Florence and focus on the good stuff. I tune out the noise, the crowds and focus on why I am here- to experience art, Italian culture and to have a good time with my family. Over the next couple of days these are the moments which stand out.
Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia. Standing at the end of the corridor, it takes my breath away. I just stand and stare and nearly burst into tears. We’re here early and it’s not too busy, so it’s not as frenetic as the Uffizi and there’s a stillness in the room as people look and talk in hushed tones-except for my kids who insist on looking behind the sculpture to check out David’s bottom.
The Botticelli room at the Uffizi. Venus is an amazing painting, and with so many other masterpieces in the room, the crowd’s attention is divided. Master BG is suitably awed by the size of the paintings.
Bargello- a surprising sculpture gallery, in that there weren’t too many people waiting to go in, and the fact that it had been a prison. The architecture was fascinating and I got to see Donatello’s David. The theme of David in Florence is quite pervasive, with Florence identifying as the underdog against the might of Rome and the Pope.
Orienting ourselves by going past the Duomo everyday- it was a lovely sight to behold. With all the walking, it was getting to the point that I could nearly navigate without a map after a while. I kept one just in case-those winding streets seriously affected my sense of navigation!
The kids playing with a little French boy at the park, (in fact the only park in Central Florence) and despite their lack of common, language, manage to communicate with each other.
Seeing beautiful Florentines dressed sharply riding their bikes and taking advantage of the fact that they don’t have to wear helmets- it would wreck their hair of course! There were seriously beautiful men dressed so stylishly *minor heart palpitation*
Eating the yummiest gelati in the world- my favourite flavour was limone, and the kids loved fragola and cioccolato. I think we’re going to be seriously spoiled and never want to eat any icecream ever again.
Seeing the kids on a vintage merry go round in the Piazza della Reppublica. There are very few child friendly spaces in Florence and when you see them you visit them over and again.
Avoiding the queues for many museums by having anAmici degli Uffizi pass. Undoubtedly the best investment in Florence! You would simply go to the front of the queue wave the card and you would be let in. If you were staying for an extended period, it is definitely worth the money.
Perusing the food at the Mercato Centrale and seeing the student artists drawing the market stalls. They were employing perspective methods used by the Renaissance artists and it was fascinating to see everyday activities celebrated in such a way. The food was yummy too!
Limoncello- an acquired taste and one that I acquired with gusto! The liqueur will be one I will always associate with Florence.
So things seem to be looking up. I’ve realised that no city can truly live up to being a perfect destination, and that you have to accept that. You also have to seek out the good moments and treasure them.