Today I made the acquaintance of two very different residents of Florence. Both are world famous and both very old, although one much more so than the other. Furthermore, both are the products of the imagination and artistry of Florentine craftsmen. They are of course Michaelangelo’s David and Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio. Although to write their names in the same sentence may be viewed by some as tantamount to blasphemy, they will both forever be imprinted in my mind as symbols of this most beautiful of cities.
The statue of David stands a full 5.17 meters tall and as he towered above me on his pedestal, I could hardly comprehend that he is carved from a single piece of Carrara marble. It was, however, the worried expression on his face that distracted me from his gorgeous body and firmly brought out my maternal instincts. I would have taken on Goliath myself to protect him! My reaction to Pinocchio was quite different however, as he brought back memories of childhood wonder, naivety and fun and has reminded me to check the length of my nose regularly!
All jesting aside, Florence is simply an amazing city. Set in the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside on the banks of the Arno River, it is the heart of Renaissance Italy. The famous Il Duomo crowns the elaborate facade of the 1436 Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, while its museums, churches and piazzas provide a breathtaking vista around every corner. Santa Croce church is the final resting place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and Machiavelli and the impressive Piazza della Signora, the centre of historical Florence, contains an open air sculptue exhiibition including a copy of the aforementioned David.
Florence undoubtedly has a gentile, sophisticated air, but don’t be fooled, it isn’t only for art and history lovers. It is a shoppers paradise famous for leather and gold and is the home of Gucchi. It also has a plethora of restraunts, bars and an amazing nightlife. If I can make one suggestion, it is to make sure your hotel is near the historical centre. Ours was in the business district which meant it was very quiet in the evening so a night out involved taxis.
Ciao, Florence, I really hope to see you again soon.
Bucket list # 3 to be continued. Next stop, Pisa and Roma!