Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Ancient Charm of Florence

Founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC, and later reawakened by all the flourishing achievements of the Renaissance, Florence stands today as a beautiful monument of the past. We wondered, as we left Venice by eurail train on Sept. 10, how our next destination would match up to what we had experienced already in Venice. And although Venice holds a uniqueness like no other place, we were also captivated by the charm of Florence.

We arrived in Florence mid-afternoon, and after searching for an ATM (as all of our lodging had to be paid for in cash with euros), we walked the 20 minute route from the train station to our rental - although it took us about 45 minutes with all of our luggage in tow on a very hot day. We found our lodging, and were again amazed at it's location, set in the perfect spot in this incredibly charming city. We had scrambled to line up our lodging online for this trip, as we had jumped into the planning quite late, and were continually amazed at how God orchestrated everything for us.

After settling into our apartment on the second floor above a beautiful ceramic store operated by the apartment owners, and after quickly purchasing some groceries at a nearby market, we set out to explore the area. We found that our apartment was located very near a central attraction in Florence - the fascinating area around the Old Bridge, which spans the Arno River.

It was early evening when we walked up over the Old Bridge, and we were captivated - such beauty; the charm of this city is incredible. There was a crowd gathered at the center area of the bridge overlooking the Arno River, and the music from the guitarists added to the magic of the evening.

Shops line each side of this bridge that spans the Arno River ...

The next day we set out on foot to explore more of the city. The city is quite compact, and most of the attractions are accessible without using public transportation. 

The majestic Duomo, with its massive stone dome which was completed in the 1400's, was a scientific marvel in its time, and continues to be one of the main attractions of Florence.

The city was filled with art; everywhere we went there was beauty to be seen, artists at work on the sides of the streets, artwork on display and for sale. 

We also loved the beauty of the food in Italy - a place where meals are drawn out and conversation continues on throughout the various courses. And such a treat to enjoy eating out in the sidewalk cafes, which were everywhere in Italy. We absolutely loved our times eating together as a couple, and also the meals that we enjoyed together with our son, Lance. Some of the high points of our trip were the great conversations that we had together with Lance while enjoying meals together in some of the many sidewalk cafes.

The beautiful red rose Gary purchased for me as we ate our pizza meal together our first evening in Florence - sold by an Italian who made his rounds around the sidewalk cafes in that area.

A full course Italian meal our second evening in Florence - enjoyed together with Lance, and filled with good conversation that continued on into the late evening. A highlight of our time in Italy - spending time with Lance, and enjoying good talks together.

And we cannot talk about the food in Italy without mentioning the "gelato" shops - everywhere we went, in every city that we were in, there were gelato (ice-cream) stores. Especially perfect on the hot days of sight-seeing (weather was mid to upper 80's, and sometimes in the 90's during our visit in Italy) - and especially perfect for me, ice-cream lover that I am! We enjoyed ice-cream cones together many times during our visit in Italy.

(More to come on our time in Florence ... )

1 comment:

  1. are getting me so excited to be living in Europe. Budapest has great sidewalk places too downtown and just so much history, beauty and life and it's going to be my 'home'. Thank you and so happy for you!!