After a week of CAP activities a group my buddies and I decided to head to Florence for the weekend. In planning for this weekend, we searched for a cheap hostel and found one at a rate of 32 euro for 2 nights per person. At 1:30 PM on Friday we were on our way. We took a taxi from Paderno to the Bassano train station, then took a bus from Bassano to Padova and finally we hopped on a train from Padova to Florence. All of this only taking 4 hours of travel time. We arrived in Florence at about 6:45 PM, leaving us with 2 nights and 1 full day to see what we wanted. As soon as we stepped out of the airport the big city life stood out right away. The streets were as busy as if I was walking through Chicago on a Friday night; people were rushing to their next destination, there were cars zipping by me with no intent to slow down, and lastly the jaw dropping scenery made it hard to keep our eyes infront of us. Below are some pictures of what we came across on the walk to our hostel:
Saturday morning we woke up at about 9:00 AM and we then walked to an americanized breakfast cafe to eat something other than pasta before we began our day long extravaganza. The meal was delicious, but what we had ahead of us was ten times better! We explored from 10:00 AM to until about 5:00 PM. We saw and spent time inside the Duomo – a truly unbelievable experience! The architecture of this masterpiece, along with its history inside, is what makes it so special. This part was probably my most favorite aspect of the Duomo; I was shocked to see such amazing art work after looking up to the ceiling and along the walls. Below are some pictures of the Duomo inside and out:
Seeing these pictures may be appealing, but seeing them in person is what makes these pieces of art so special.
Next, we were off to see the Statue of David by Michelangelo, which can be found at the Accademia Galleria in the San Marco District. After seeing pictures of Michelangelo’s pieces of art back in grammar school and now seeing them in person changed my perspective completely. Thinking about how Michelangelo physically sculpted these massive statues just blows my mind. The Statue of David, at 5.2 meters high, is one of the most impressive pieces of art I have ever seen in person. Sculpting this statue at the age of 29 really puts into perspective how much Michelangelo accomplished. Not only did he sculpt the Statue of David but he also sculpted hundreds of more statues. We wanted to snap photos as soon as we walked into this historical museum, but the moment we took out our phones/cameras, security guards swarmed us saying “no pictures!”. Fortunately, we were able to get a few shots before we had to put our cameras away:
After we left the Accademia Galleria we went to a local cafe to grab a snack to eat then finished our day off by walking through the Ponte Vecchio, which is a historic bridge that contains local shops and a great view overlooking the Arno river. While we were on this bridge we ran into some American students studying through 1 of the 6 universities in Florence. The American students were all super nice and enjoyed meeting us as much as we enjoyed meeting them. In addition to running into other American students, the locals were extremely friendly as well. Below are some more pictures of our day long extravaganza:
On Sunday morning we woke up at 9:00 AM with very little energy, but with the help of McDonalds… yes there is McDonalds in Italy… we were able to put just enough food into our system to get us going once again. I have never had a more satisfying meal from McDonalds… We then scurried on over to the train station, purchased our 45 euro ticket and before we knew it we were on our way back to small town Paderno for another week of school work and more exciting CAP activities.
Looking back on my first trip to a big city, Florence is one destination I truely recommend. The sight seeing was unforgettable and the atmosphere was nothing but welcoming!