Florence was a bit cloudy and rainy the few days I managed to sneak out of the office, but I caught a glimpse of the surrounding area including the many restaurant I’ve been posting about. Besides my complaints of tourists ruining the magical escape known as Florence I absorbed a great deal of culture and lifestyle rummaging around in the morning markets, late night bars, and street crowded corners. Food is fantastic and fresh though shady in some populated areas beaming with english menus.(if it has english words, it probably isn’t authentic italian) The ceramic landscape is breath-taking minus the touristy attractions and street dwelling purse sellers. Advertisements also known as expensive graffiti cascades over historical building and streetscapes in bothersome ways, but I guess money can buy many unsightly needs. The lifestyle of people breath fashion and simplicity yet seems complex in an unorganized chaotic way. They like to play it by ear and go by tradition rather than by new means and modern technologies. People are kind, friendly, and hospitable. They are proud of their culture, food, language, and love to share this knowledge.
My journey around the city was brief but meaningful and delightful. I’d rather visit when it’s sunny, but I’ll be back in June when more tourists are lurking and blossoming gardens fill the summer sun. Besides all the great restaurants, I took several pictures here and there. I don’t really have a story to tell about the city, so enjoy the many pictures I’ve posted, with brief thoughts after the jump.
To describe Florence would be hard to characterize, but I’ve realized after looking through my photos that the essence of the inner cities captured by the many alleyways in every corner. They’re narrow, charming, and everywhere. People walk the streets and verve off to the miniscule sidewalks everytime cars rumble nearby….Cars rubbed my sides many times initially, but then it became natural and just part of the city life.
Statues covered, appeared, and pretty much made up most of Florence in every buildling, bridge, street, and corner. As nice as they were, sometimes it was a bit much…especially the fake Michelangelo’s which seemed to be everywhere.
Here’s a local fountain that I walked by pretty much everyday. Someone told me I could drink the water here, but I didn’t like the stains it left on the stone underneath…go ahead, drink…I’ll stick to the bubbly water I’d gotten use to.
Near the museums and at several street corners were these statue like art performers. You pay them some change and they move or do something goofy. It’s nice to have at times, but man does it get on your nerves after awhile….
Here’s the famous Uffizi gallery outside hallway…. The lines were LONG…..some say 4-5 hours of waiting…hence I never got in…otherwise, the architecture here was magnificent! I’ll get there early in the morning next time around.
I made the walk a top the big hill also known as Piazzale Michelangelo to see the copy of the Michaelangelo statue …it’s not much of a site being such a touristy infested location but the view is breathtaking (that’s looking away from the statue over the city)…..I’m not saying anything bad about the place, but when tourist buses surround it, tents taunt every corner selling soccer shirts and cheap plaster figures, and people carry around bags of fake branded goods/purses….it just doesn’t feel right…I’m in Italy…and this place feels like some movie set.
This is a quick snap of some of the fake goods…this took up a whole side of the site….yack!
Here’s the amazzzing view looking away from the statue…it’s hard to describe and my tiny camera doesn’t really capture the essence of the location even on a smoggy day… I sat up her with some friends chatting for a good hour….very relaxing…calming…peaceful.
Here’s the bridge that all the jewelry stores are located on. ALLlllll the tourists go there…it’s crowded, congested, and full of pick pocketers.
Some of the bridges had these triangular porch like ridges over their railings that people chilled out on.
This girls very chill and sketching…I wanted to climb out there, but she beat me to the best seat on the bridge! I’ve learned not to bother people in their zen moments in sketching.
Some graffiti or writing on the bridge walls.
The jewelry stores on this bridge secured their stores with wooden planks…makes for a nice pirate-like environment.
Ahh…the master….I went by the famous Basilica di Santa Croce di Firenze to visit Michelangelo‘s Tomb. Lots of other famous Italians were buried here.
Right outside my hotel was the street market surrounding the Massive Duomo filled with leather goods, cheap touristy shirts, shoes, bags, and take home ornaments. I did not see anything unique in this market, but then again, I did not look too hard. The vendors greeted me in chinese, english, japanese, korean, italian, french, and once in spanish… I guess they were prepared for tourists but I’ve always thought I looked chinese.
I bought a belt here 10 years ago..it’s one of the only places in my memory of Florence…It’s a nice area to look around and bargain, but nothing popped out for me to buy.
This is the main street for shopping the high-end stores known as Por Santa Maria. I didn’t spend much time roaming the stores, but from what I did see, it was top notch materials, styles, and trends.
High-quality handmade leather shoes were abundant here….I’ve never seen such a wide variety of selections(the cost was high as well).
Ahhh, finally, something I can relate to a bit more…vinyl dolls!!!! Things I can afford…I was smiling again.
I reallly liked these paint chipping rustic chairs sitting near the river at a closed down cafe. Black with a minty green underskin.
Here’s a stencil plopped onto a wall in an alleyway…Not sure what this means, but I took a pic.
Here’s one of many street chalk artists…. this was one of the few females artist I observed… I have great respect for them…I’ve tried chalking on sidewalks and it’s tough.
An awkward sculpture in one of the gardens, though I liked it…it’s like a spinal cord made up of Cingular icon figures…or a bunch or Lemmings doing a dance…
The signage here was really confusing to me at first…only reason was because everyone seemed to be running if not flying off the stairs…. I asked some Italians showing us around why everyone on the signs were running when they were just to point out where things were….I was like, why not just walk….well, after a bit of thinking, I got a really good answer…” eople in Italy like to walk like fast F1 racers, hence run”.
ahhhh..thank god…a regular sign of someone walking…though the figure was a bit odd looking.
A quick image from one of the markets…the produce here is amazzingly fresh, real, tasty… although this picture is of the dried goods. I ate tomatos pretty much every single day.
Gelato….gelato existed everywhere around Florence. I actually didn’t try any here, but finally had some in Milan on my last day heading to the airport. Yummmm…
A quick simple sandwich at a local cafe. Crunchy bread, nice dry prosciutto, and some cheese…simple and good.
This was a rabbit with potatoes dish I had at a restaurant we had high expectations for since the name was given to us by a local of Italy, though not from Florence. The place had an amazing warm red atmosphere and wine, but the food did not live up to our expectations, hence it only gets one picture and not an entire posting like the other restaurants. The rabbit was good when you could find meat, but this dish was mainly ribs with no meat. Not a great deal for some $20+.
This picture was taken my first day in….little tiny cars..cool!
Here’s an electronic car charging at a station… I saw a good dozen of these cars hovering around Florence…I’m not sure how much they charge for powering up, but it seemed to be free as there was just an on/off switch on these kiosks.
Here’s another electronic car…I finally took a peek inside, and hmm….it just looks like an office chair stapled into the cars floor…doesn’t look that comfy nor safe…a least it’s electric.
I don’t think they like to park correctly here….this occured on many occasions….
I’ve realized throughout my time in Florence that everyone drives tiny little cars, yet massive motorbikes. Just a bit of knowledge from a traveling observer 🙂