- 22 Aug - 28 Aug, 2020
Stroll through Florence
- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
- Travel Diaries
The Tuscan capital is rightly named ‘the city of lilies’; one stroll through it and the city will unveil its majesty to you. Birth place of the Da Vinci, it is the city that fueled Michelangelo’s creative train of thought and the subject of numerous fiction novels we grew up reading. Italy is the country to fall in love with and Florence is where the magic will happen. The entire historical centre of Florence is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO which is no surprise considering one third of the world’s art treasure belongs to this city. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Florence has a funny testimony to its architectural mastery; even Hitler refused to blow up the Ponte Vecchio Bridge because it was too beautiful. Home to some of the literary gods, namely Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarca, there is no reason why this city should not be on your bucket list.
If you happen to find yourself in Florence, here’s how you should do justice to it. Don’t bother with hailing yourself a ride, put your walking shoes on and if you get tired, rent out a Vespa. Europe is too cold to ride around on a bike, unless it’s a Vespa, it’s never too cold for a Vespa.
DAY TOUR ON FOOT
Start in Piazza del Duomo and continue passing Giotto’s bell tower where you will find the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, where many important and original artifacts and artworks are held such as the original golden doors of the Baptistry. Europe is littered with art museums and this one is great because it is usually much less crowded than some of the others but nonetheless holds some of the most important pieces. Continuing on foot, Google Map your way to Casa Museo di Dante (which is? Bingo!) where Dante lived. If you happen to be a literature enthusiast, take your time to worship the very god of literature himself. Don’t forget to pick up your Florentine copy of The Divine Comedy for keepsake. If you like to visit churches, then missing out on these in Florence is a crime. There’s a bunch you will come across in the same piazza, Church of Orsanmichele is one to name. If your feet are getting tired, then take a break and unwind in one of those tiny street cafes that Europe is so famed for. Nothing matches the bliss of coffee that is the right amount of caffeine and tastes just like stars while the European winds ruffle your hair and the sun soothes your skin. This is the magic that happens in this part of the world and cannot be replicated anywhere else.
TRACING MICHELANGELO’S FOOTFALL
This is for the art connoisseurs out there. There aren’t a lot of artists out there who have become the patron of entire cities but here we have most of Michelangelo’s prized treasures under the same Florentine sky. Michelangelo must be a topic of great interest to most but did you know he adopted the art of stone carving from his wet nurse? Retrace his artistic imprint in this city by taking a day to visit everything created and brought to life in stone by him; how else do you give a tribute to an artist? Casa Buonarroti, situated in the vibrant and picturesque district of Santa Croce. Despite the name, Casa Buonarroti (House of Buonarroti) is not the place where the artist lived. It houses two pieces which the great artist sculpted: the Battle of the Centaurs and the Madonna della Scala. Next, pay homage to one of his other pieces in the church Santo Spirito; it is one of the most beautiful Renaissance churches in Florence. Next head over to Bargello to see four masterpieces: Bacchus, Brutus, Tondo Pitti (also known as the Madonna and Child) and David/ Apollo. The Genius of Victory is another statue conceived for one of the many versions of the tomb of Pope Julius II in Rome and displayed in the Palazzo Vecchio (or Palazzo della Signoria), inside the magnificent Salone dei Cinquecento. Your art bug should be fully satisfied after this day tour.
The quaint beauty of Florence and the relaxed daily lifestyle of its residents could lead the unknowing visitor to assume that nightlife is not a priority in this city. But, this could not be further from the truth. Florence can stay up till the sun comes up. It has a loud and happening night life, enough to keep the adrenaline gushing and make for some crazy Instagram Stories. Just be sure to leave your stilettos in the hotel room because high heels and cobblestones don’t work that well together.
Okay, let’s do some numbers. With three to four days in Florence (which in no way is enough to soak up that Florentine life) time is of the essence. You may not have enough time to book in that candle light dinner you fantasized about, and most meals will be a grab and go or bites snuck in during your tours. But don’t frown, rejoice, because Florence believes in late dinners. When the museums are closed and the art and literary bugs have had enough, take to the streets for a long stroll and find yourself in a tiny eatery with hand sized chandeliers suspended from the ceiling, tiny round tables with pristine white tablecloths and decorated with ornate cutlery and chairs pushed together – let yourself be taken away by the culinary experience that lays ahead. And when you are done, don’t forget to shower common greetings like “grazie” to show off how cultural you are. While you are grabbing and going, be sure to try the best paninis in the world, and don’t let the long lines budge you. Each panini is made with fresh ingredients and freshly baked bread and you can witness the process as you go. And are you even a real tourist if you are not obsessed with grabbing cappuccinos every few hours? The Italians take pride in their coffee culture, so forget to keep a check on your caffeine indulgence and shamelessly make that a double shot.
Before you know it, time of departure will be here and the past few days will feel like an architecturally rich fairytale. You will have to leave but you might forget your heart in Florence, the city of lilies, but fret not, because that is reason enough to come back.
- 01 Aug - 07 Aug, 2020
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- 07 Sep - 13 Sep, 2019