Florence

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Last weekend, I travelled north to Florence via TrenItalia.  I was impressed by how easy it was to make travel arrangements as well as how quickly we were able to get there. The ride on the high speed trains from the Termini metro station took about an hour and a half and the travel conditions were comfortable.  We arrived a little after ten in the morning and stayed until about nine that night.  We purchased a map at our first stop after arriving and were able to navigate the city with ease.

Our first stop was the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, home to the famous Duomo, or dome.  Approaching the Cathedral, I was in awe of its massive exterior.  As opposed to the stone exteriors of many of the churches in Rome, this Cathedral was embellished with green stone and was very visually appealing.  It was recommended that we buy passes for many of the attractions in Florence, including the dome and David, but we planned the trip last minute and winged everything and I was thrilled that we did not need to wait more than fifteen minutes for any of the popular destinations.  We went into the cathedral first, and I was most drawn to the stained glass reflecting patches of color onto the floor. Looking up, the dome was painted to elaborately portray religious history and was very impressive.  We also went for a walk in the crypts, and I was overwhelmed with a sense of history as we weaved through the paths set in ancient stone.

On the ground, I expressed that the cathedral was so beautiful that I wished to give it a hug. Little did I know that only a short while later, when we climbed to the top of the dome, I would be hugging the cathedral for dear life due to an unprecedented fear of heights.  The view of the rooftops and green hillsides were absolutely breathtaking, but I felt the guard rail could have been a bit higher to better accommodate the high volume tourist traffic. Even so, I am glad I went up to the top. In order to get there, you needed to ascend stairs and it was pretty fascinating to walk through passageways from so long ago. Also, you needed to circle the dome on the inside twice and I enjoyed seeing the paintings that had seemed so far away on the ground so close.  They were much more grotesque up close than they were from the cathedral floor.

From the Duomo, we headed to the Accademia museum, where Michelangelo’s David is displayed.  It was wonderful to see in person what I have learned about for so many years.  It was difficult to grasp how something so perfectly reflecting the human body could have been carved from stone, but Michelangelo’s unfinished statues were also on display and one could better grasp the transition from marble to masterpiece.  The musical instrument wing was also wonderful; I especially enjoyed that original Antonio Stradivari violin. Other highlights included the bridge lined with jewelers and a delicious lunch.  My day in Florence was one to remember!

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