Florence!

On Monday it was time to leave Rome. As much as I loved it there, the tour must go on. Next stop – Florence!

Florence (or Firenze) is the art capital of Italy with well known artists like Michelangelo originating from here. The city contains a lot of their artwork still, and the style of buildings makes for a stunning city quite different to Rome and Venice.

The Florence section of the tour was a bit of a rush with only staying in the city for one night. Luckily it only took three hours to drive from Rome to Florence, so we could jam-pack a few activities in.

First off on arrival, we started with a good old guided walking tour. Florence has some really neat statues.

I think the expression on this lions face is hilarious!
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Persus holding the head of Medusa with her body under his feet
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David
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Ponte Vecchio bridge filled with only Gold smithing jewellery shops
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On the Ponte Vecchio bridge
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We took a bit long taking the last photo on the gold shop bridge and lost the tour group for a while. After wandering the streets for about ten minutes we luckily stumbled onto them again.

Afterwards we went to a leather shop to learn about making leather, and telling the difference between genuine and fake leather. Afterwards we were encouraged to walk through the shop itself and get tempted into buying things. It was a hard test for me. I looove leather stuff. Especially jackets. But with a minimum price tag of £300 (NZ$500), it was definitely better to stay in control of my wallet.

Afterwards Shelley and I checked out a church. On the way we noticed a little pizza shop selling Italian pizza by the slice. Realising that this might be my last chance to have real pizza before we left, I quickly pulled Shelley into the shop. And oh. My. God. The pizza was mind-blowing. We ate in silence for five minutes busy with being in pizza-heaven/mouth-gasam internally.

That green stuff is basil pesto *drool*
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We were on the way to the Basilica of Michelangelo when it started to spit. And then rain. And then it was bucketing down with thunder and lightning galore. For the next couple of hours we hid in doorways and windows, waiting out the rain which didn’t show any sign of slowing down.

Eventually it was time to meet back up with the group for dinner. Everyone looked pretty bedraggled. Dinner was in a Tuscan restaurant with lots of red wine. It was a pretty average dinner to be honest and overpriced for what it was. This saddened me as I’ve developed some pretty high expectations for Italian food now.

Next up we headed to a karaoke bar. The rain had thankfully stopped by then. A bit of hilarious singing on the mike with some delicious cocktails, and the night was over. It was a public holiday and the finals for Florentine football in Florence that day, so we even got to enjoy some special fireworks while we waited for the bus to pick us up.

Overall I really liked Florence. It’s a lovely city and easy to get around in. I really liked the statues since they were all gods I had actually heard of before. Everything is quite pretty and artsy themed. It was a shame that there was a bit of a storm which cut short our plans. The Florentine football final game ended up cancelled too which would have disappointed a lot of local people. Still, Florence is definitely on my list to come back and visit.

Final verdict – awesome!

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