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Published: September 24th 2009
Known here as Firenze, Florence is completely charming. My camp site was right next to the Piazza Michelangelo lookout which had the most stunning views of the town (especially at night!). One of the things I like best about Florence is that, like Verona, a lot of the building styles co-ordinate well together. It's possible to imagine what it would have been like hundreds of years ago.
Apparently this is a city of crafts and there are a huge number of shops and stalls selling gorgeous leather goods (mostly bags and jackets), and a number of artists sketching and painting in the squares and selling their work. Particularly around the Uffizi gallery. I did of course explore that particular gallery because it's such a big one. The best part was the Carrivagio paintings. There was a medusa's head painted directly onto a shield, a famous canvas of a young Bacchus and a very striking painting of two women cutting off a mans head. It sounds gruesome I know but the skill with which is was executed (and HE was executed! Hehe) and the expressions on the faces and intensity of the whole image really caught me. Stunning. I will have
to look up what the painting is called. I've seen prints of it before.
Michelangelo's David isn't in the Uffizi though, it's in The Accedemia Gallery (and it's really the only thing in it worth seeing to be honest). I'd already seen a couple of the copies of the sculpture which are scattered around the city, but they don't compare to the original. He's HUGE! The sculpture is so detailed you can see the veins in his arms. Very beautiful. His hands and head seem a bit large but that's apparently because he was originally meant to be displayed on a higher plinth and the perspective would have been right from that hight. Definitely worth a look. Sadly I couldn't take photo's.
Another highlight of this area is the Ponte Vecchio bridge which has shops all along the bridge. Originally it was a food market but now it's full of jewellery stores. I went there at night when everything was shut and there was a very good busker with his guitar performing. Everyone just lounged around and enjoyed the lights on the water and the music. I sat there for about half an hour before I dragged myself
away. Very romantic.
I also had a lovely dinner with a Columbian girl who was staying in my dorm. Had the best creme caramel ever!
I spent a total of two and a half days in Florence but would happily have stayed longer. A beautiful place.
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