Traveling to Italy without visiting Firenze felt like I was missing out on a huge part of the Italian heritage, and I was right. From the lovely old and narrow streets that resemble those of Verona, to the multiple master pieces that are scattered around in museums, Florence takes you back to renaissance Italy the second you set foot in it.
It is also a reality that the amount of tourists visiting the city can make it a very, very, very tiring journey. I cannot complain too much being a tourist myself but I assure you will have a better time enjoying Florence if you visit at a low season.
By reading about the political power the Medici´s had and its cultural impact to the rest of Italy and the world, I always pictured Florence a much bigger city. Which is actually very nice if you only have a day to visit it. Just make sure to plan your visit very well since just admiring the David and shopping at Via de´Tornabuoni can take all day.
I am usually an enthusiast when it comes to appreciating a beautiful view, even if it means going up 463 stairs on the hottest week of the summer. Since going in through the main entrance of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore meant I had to wait in line for two hours, I decided to explore Brunelleschi´s famous dome instead. Luckily I got to see some of the cathedral from the inside and a very close look to the frescoes decorating the inner part of the dome.
It was indeed a very peculiar adventure, walking through the tilted dome walls on a very narrow staircase, having people coming down while I was going up, and really just longing some fresh air and a cold gelato. Finally you get to the very top. The view is incredible and calm, it is perfect for letting your mind fly around.
I got to the Galleria dell´Accademia ready for the one and only David, one of Michelangelo´s most famous work. When I was on the train from Milan to Florence I realized I was scared to see it. Sometimes you set your expectations so high there is no way reality can live up to what your mind created. But it did and even exceeded it. So majestic and marble-ous. Proportions, expression, details, everything about the David is just pure perfection.
Still in awe after seeing the David, I continued my journey to the Uffizi Gallery. I had to see it very quickly, almost running in order to get a glimpse of every artwork. Once I got to the Botticelli room there was no way I could keep on running. There was a huge crowd in front of this painting I had to see, I pushed around a few people in order to be as close as I could get to the Birth of Venus.
So many times before I had seen it in books, but being able to distinguish every brushstroke made by Sandro Botticelli was fascinating. The only thing that seemed weird to me was the vibrancy of the colors. I know pictures in general get very edited but for some reason all the pictures I had seen of the Birth of Venus had really strong aquas and blues. It was not the case, the light of the painting was a little dim compared to what pictures usually show. I wonder if the colors have faded or if that is what the artist aimed for. Either way it is one of the most beautiful paintings I have ever seen. I know I say this a lot but anyone who has seen it will agree with me!
It was almost departure time and with no more energy in my body I crossed the famous Ponte Vecchio. All along I was traveling with my cousins and sibling, Florence in a day is a lot to take in. Once on the other side of the bridge we got some granita and sat on the street. I felt like I was wasting time by not going to another museum. But then thinking about it, when was I going to get another chance of just sitting on a street in florence for an hour and a half?
Photos by Greta Elizondo and Eugenio Garcia.