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Published: April 28th 2013
“It’s red-brick roofs and pastel-yellow coloured houses!” “Yes, MORE of red roofs and yellow buildings, look there!”
Besides the main attractions drawing us in, that was perhaps my strongest impression of Firenze, as it is fondly called in Italian. Like Venice, this beautiful city was flooded with tourists and travelers alike, looking to embrace the centre of medieval European times. I was very impressed with the initial sightings, while walking along the streets towards our hostel. The architecture was distinctly different from the rest of the cities thus far, not surprising considering the accolades given to her, such as being the ‘birthplace of Renaissance’. More importantly for her I guess, it seems like the city resides the highest concentration of art, proudly flaunting its legendary artistic heritage. From the Uffizi Gallery to the Pitti Palace to many numerous art galleries, any art enthusiast will definitely be inspired here. As for a layman like myself, it was more of a gentle appreciation and admiration. Too many days and we might just get an overdose of art!
Anyway, we had a good time in the city, started with a taste of local flavor. Tried a really delicious Florentine fast food,
lampredotto, a burger-like stuffed with all kinds of intestines and meat insides you can find in typical “kway chap” (Singaporean dish). It was refreshing for us at least, with a different way of serving up similar food but in different condiments and sauce. Walking along the busy street-side stalls felt a little Asian as well, with uncanny similarities with Bangkok’s Chatuchak and Singapore’s Pasar Malam. Erm, just that the value of the currency, and of course, price are pretty different!
The most striking structure(s) has got to be the white façade of the famed domed cathedral, Santa Maria del Fioro, and the nearby Campanile. We were struck in awe as we turned into the plaza where the two were situated, exclaiming in unison that the Duomo definitely looks uniquely different from others, both inside and out. For me though, the best time to visit would be nightfall. That’s where the buildings brighten up, glowing in bright pearl white in the dark skies, unassumingly exerting its influence in the city’s landscape.
Though it was a pity we passed the chance of going up to the top of the Duomo due to insanely long queues, we had an equally exciting
Duomo and Campanile at night
striking glow in the background
climb up the top of Palazzo della Signoria (better known as the Palazzo Vecchio). The old palace houses very interesting exhibits for history enthusiasts besides boasting a 92m tall tower that rivals the cathedral in the city skyline. The view from the top was superb, with a perfect with of the Dome and surrounding buildings/houses that dwarfs in comparison. Pointing out where’s where from the top of somewhere in every city has definitely become a favourite habit of mine (Steph can definitely testify to that, haha). A copy of Michelangelo's David statue and several others were keeping the numerous tourists busy snapping shots as we slowly made our way down and towards the riverside for sunset.
Ponte Vecchio, which overlooks the Arno river, stands out amongst the many bridges, with the most striking feature being the multitude of shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts. With the sunset in a favorable direction, it was perfect setting for some picturesque shots and a romantic evening by the riverside. Well, another reason why Firenze is so beautiful!
The trip to Florence included a day trip to Pisa too, and shots with the world’s famous Leaning tower. Being an
engineer, it was really intriguing how the tower defies laws of physics and well, engineering theories. Not going into details of the history of the structure but I guess it’s a mistake turned into a brilliant architecture work! Having a look live at the tower was worth the time itself, let alone getting to take those cheeky shots with the tower. Honestly, it was pretty hilarious seeing so many tourists, standing on the short columns lined along the field, trying to take the EXACT same shot with the tower. Not that we cared, ‘cos we were guilty of it anyway!
Gelato count till now: err, lost count 😊 Next and last stop: Rome.
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