torrie's travels


Florence November 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 2:32 pm

What a long day! It started off on the wrong foot, a bit. I was lugging my bag of things to send home and in search of a post office that wasn’t too far off the path of my day. I was in the place it said it was on the map, but no post office. So I asked a shop lady and she said, “is no more.” Lovely. But then she directed me to another that was closer than the only other one on my map. So I went out of my way, but it had to be done. And then it was like the Milan train station all over again. Packed and my number was about 30 people behind what number was currently showing. Once my number was called the guy refused to help me put it in the box and seal it up. Made me stand aside and do it. Whatever. Then the guy who went while I was doing that took for freaking ever. I finally step back up and he gives me paperwork to fill out that he then made me stand aside for. Again. Why he couldn’t have given it to me all at one time, I don’t know. Then he proceeded to yell at me that I don’t have an address in Florence and do not know the address of my hostel. He said I need it and I said I’ve never needed it in any other country. So I wrote the name down and left the rest blank. He finally gets it all finished and refuses to let me pay by card. I call bullshit. He said, “this product you pay cash. You have it?” What if I didn’t? I bet he would’ve taken my card. Not a fan. Seriously, dude, you work 5 hours a day (they’re only open 8:30-1:30), try a little harder.

So then I made my way back to Galleria Dell’Accademia, the museum that houses Michaelangelo’s David. There was a line outside, so I skipped it. I knew it was open until almost 7, so I decided to come back when there was no line. So I went to the Duomo, or the Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence’s Cathedral. Construction on the Cathedral began in 1296 and was finished, with the completion of the dome, in 1436. The outside of the Cathedral is very beautiful. It has the same black and white striping at the Cathedral in Pisa. But there was so much more. It had pastel colors on it. Very different and very pretty. The inside was kind of blah. There was a panel from Dante’s Divine Comedy, a Donatello stained glass, but until I saw the dome (or cupola), I was less than impressed. But man, that dome. Wow. I was stunned. It was so incredibly gorgeous. I just…had no words. It almost, almost, made me want to climb the 463 steps to get closer to it. But if I’m climbing 463 steps, it’s in Rome, not here. I could’ve stood there looking at it forever.

From there, I made my way to Dante’s house. You know, Dante Alighieri? What I didn’t know about Dante was that he is essentially the founder of the Italian language. He got people speaking the Florentine dialect, which is now Italian, instead of Latin. I didn’t tour the inside of the house, but I saw the outside. After reading Dante’s Inferno in an awful Literature class at Hamline, Dante and I aren’t on the greatest terms. Maybe I should give him a second chance?

I then saw the Piazza Repubblica. It was nice. It was a square. It had a carousel and a cool yellow wall with arches. That was about it, so I moved on to the Uffizi Gallery. But first, I came upon Piazza della Signoria. This was a beautiful square, with the famous Neptune statue in it. There was another statue “garden” for lack of a better word. Not really sure what it was part of. The Palazzo Vecchio was there, next to Neptune, as well. A copy of David also stands in this square. I had lunch here, a quick sandwich, before heading into the Uffiza Gallery, which is just off of the square.

The gallery was fine. I am so ignorant when it comes to art that I like to see famous things, but beyond that, I like to see things but not spend a ton of time. So I spent probably an hour inside. I saw lots of ancient Roman statues/art (from the 1st century AD), some Leonard’s, some Michaelangelo’s, etc. It was nice but nothing to write home about!

Then I went to Ponte Vecchio, which was close by. This is a bridge spanning the Arno River that isn’t covered, but has shops built into the sides. It is very old looking, which was nice, even though it’s mostly full of fancy, expensive jewelers now. (It used to be butchers and bakers back in the day. I think I’ll take the jewelers!) Even Hitler found the bridge too beautiful to bomb as he ordered the Germans to bomb all the bridges as they beat their hasty retreat out of the city. Thanks, Adolf.

I wanted to go to Piazzale Michaelangelo, even though it was across the river and far away. So I started out. Then realized that it was very much uphill. Like a lot. I stopped at a rose garden, which had a beautiful view of the city. I think that was why I wanted to go to this piazzale (because I couldn’t remember why I wanted to go). But I decided that the view from the rose garden was good enough. I still needed to get to the train station and then back to the David museum.

So I went back into the city center and made my way to the train station. To find another cluster of people taking numbers. This time I was about 20 people away. Honestly, I have never waited in so many lines in my entire life. At least there were seats here, because in all, I probably sat for an hour of the 7-plus hours I was out today. It took ages and then as I exited the train station, I saw that it was raining again. Because of course it was. I left my rain jacket at the hostel and don’t have an umbrella. I went underground, where I thought it was a tunnel to the other side of the street, but it was actually it’s own little world. Shops, restaurants, everything. It was cool and I wish I could’ve checked more of it out, but I wanted to get to the museum.

I came up across the street and saw a vendor with umbrellas. I didn’t realize that it was letting up at this point, but I needed an umbrella anyway. He wanted 5 euro for it, but I knew there were places down the road for 3 euro, so I said 3. He said 4. I said 3. I think I said it firmly enough that he gave in. When I returned to the David museum there was no line. Plan worked perfectly! But before I could see the iconic statue, I had to yell at the ticket guy. The cost was 12.50. So I gave him 20.50. He refused to take my .50. What? I pushed it back at him and he kept saying, I don’t need it. I said, take it, I want 8 euro back. He refused. He started yelling at me that he didn’t need it, so I yelled at him that I didn’t ask him if he needed it, I wanted 8 euro back. He absolutely refused. Seriously, I thought I was in an alternate universe. Yes, because giving me 7.50 in all change is so much better for me. I was so mad. If it weren’t for David, I would’ve given it back and refused to go in. I am considering writing to the museum. I mean, really.

I wandered through some exhibition before coming out into the terminal where David stands. I was in awe of its size. I had no idea that it was so enormous. It was lovely. As much of an art novice as I am, I am constantly in awe of it. I have no artistic ability, whatsoever, so I guess I am always stunned by the things people are able to create. I mean, this thing has veins in its hand and forearm. How does one carve, or sculpt, that? It’s just amazing. And to think that it is 500 years old. It looks good as new, though I forgot to check where someone hammered off its toe and they superglued it back on. Or something like that! I took photos of it from all angles. It was just mesmerizing!

I wanted to have pizza for dinner at the place I had the calzone on Saturday, which was on my way home. But it was closed. I was so bummed, until I read the hours, which closes between 3-6 each day. So I came back to the hostel to relax for a bit before getting pizza. Seriously, I think it was the best pizza I’ve ever had in my entire life. So good. The sign outside that says, best pizza in town, isn’t lying.

Getting ready to pack up and head to Rome in the morning. So excited to meet Mallory there tomorrow afternoon and explore Rome and Sorrento with her!


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