I left Venice at lunch. Boarded Trenitalia to take me to the cradle of Renaissance: Firenze (Florence). Florence is around two hours away from Venice. At around 1pm, I landed in Santa Maria Novella station.
|The trains that took me to Firenze|
I easily found my way to my hostel. Thankfully, I didn’t get lost this time. I dumped my stuff in the room then headed off to explore the fourth city of my Europe adventure.
Florence’s major tourist spots are concentrated in one area so everything is accessible by foot. Everybody walks. Unlike in Venice where you can get lost and find a charming deserted alley, Florence’s streets are teeming with the tourists. It can be quite sickening at times to see all these tourists in one place. Oh right, I am one of them.
My first agenda for this city is to visit Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) or more popularly known as the Duomo. However, I felt the pangs of hunger taking over. I turned to a relatively less touristy street and sat down a posh looking restaurant.
In Italy, they have these set menus where they serve the food in courses. You choose an appetizer, a main course and dessert. I kinda felt like splurging so I ordered something in the range of €18. My initial budget per meal was €20 but after exploring a couple of cities, I knew I could live with much less – and just spend the rest for shopping. I ate for two hours - they don’t serve the next course until you are done. My verdict: didn’t taste like the total bill of €23,65. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t as good as it costs. I still smiled and thanked the waiter on my way out.
Prepare to be blown away.
The Duomo is surrounded by narrow streets flooded with tourists. I really mean flooded because there’s a bunch of tour groups here and there. Lots of shops. Lots of hawkers selling souvenirs.
|So many people|
The Duomo Gothic Revival or Neo-Gothic church. Gothic was popular from the 12th to the 16th century while Gothic Revival was popular from the 18th to the 19th century. I had to Wiki the difference for that.
|That clear blue sky is the perfect background|
It is breathtaking (how many times have I used this word so far in narrating my Europe experience?). There is this majestic church and all the surrounding buildings are shops and hotels. Hahaha!
|In black and white.|
I couldn’t believe the details that was put into building this church.
|Another church undergoing forever restorations and repairs.|
Giotto's Campanile is located a few steps away from the Duomo. The Duomo, the Campanile and the Baptisery are all UNESCO world heritage sites.
My shot with Magnificence.
|Yay to the purple camera case.|
Just like the Cologne Cathedral, it is difficult to get a full shot of the Duomo, Baptisery and the Campanile. I think you have to take a shot of all of them from far far away. Since Florence's center is pretty small, there are too many buildings (and people) blocking the majestic Duomo.
I had to pass by again at night just to see how it looks like.
My shaky shot courtesy of a pair of traveling brothers.
I planned on getting tickets to go inside. However, my roommate said that there was nothing really special inside and I could just feast my eyes on the facade. I did. I didn’t feel like lining up to get the tickets anyway.