Veni. Vidi. Amavi.
I came. I saw. I loved.
The last time I set foot on Italian soil I was barely past a meter tall. Clad in pink from head to toe with all sorts of floral pattern and lace. Essentially, I could have looked like a living breathing garden and I would not have known. I visited sites and famous landmarks that many would have jumped at the opportunity to see but for my 6-year-old mind, it’d probably was just a pretty building. Completely ignoring the historical value of the cobbled street that I stood on.
14 years later, I have returned. Matured and filled with eagerness to let my mind grow with knowledge, to re-visit and visit new places and meet new people.
first stop: florence
I like Florence. the old architecture of buildings, the cobbled and narrow streets has a Tuscanian touch that has appealed to me.
My family and I arrived in Florence a little after sunset which meant that by the time we reached the apartment, everywhere was dark. This apartment was situated just by the Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria. This beautiful tower was visible from my bed with its bells ringing every hour on the hour. As I trudged along the cobbled and uneven streets, dragging along my bags that contributing to noise pollution that could essentially have waken everyone up, I finally reached the foot of my apartment and when I unlocked the heavy wooden doors, I was welcomed with a horrific sight. Flights of stairs. It definitely did not help renting the apartment right at the top.
After a good sweat out of carrying the bags up, I entered into a very old and true Italian home. This apartment was three stories high with tiny wooden doors and flooring, brick walls and stoned staircases. Initially, my senses were knocked with a touch of eerie feel as it was dark and an unfamiliar sight. However, this fear did not last long. After unpacking the usual, which I have grown to realize has become second-nature with all the practice I have acquired over the years. This apartment started to feel more cosy and grew on me. It soon became impossible not to fall in love with it.
Realizing it was dinner time, we entered a restaurant called Osteria all’ antics Vinaio which was merely a 3 minute walk from where we stayed. The food was as amazing as the staff in terms of their attentiveness to our needs. We filled our plates with pasta and cold-cuts. Which made our first dining experience in Italy all the more fabulous. After two and a half bottles of wine, a hearty conversation and a well-fed tummy, we headed back. Contented.
My family and I consider ourselves, walkers. Now you may ask what does that even mean, Rachel? Well, I am here to tell you that we absolutely love to walk ( a tad too much) when on vacation, Our main mode of transportation if possible would always be by foot around the city. Thus, it came as no surprise that when we knew Florence was a small old town, we decided that our feet will be our transport in bringing us all around.
We toured this historic city, visiting landmarks and sites that attracted many tourists just like ourselves. We visited the Florence Cathedral that from afar would like a paper house because of its fine and detailed carving of every wall. Accentuating these details with the dark outlining.
The afternoon beat on, and we continued to hit more sites barely stopping for even a lunch break (which you would come to realize in subsequent posts that had become a habit for us). These sites included Piazzale Michaelangelo where we saw the iconic terra-cotted-tiled dome, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Piazza del Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Giotto’s Campanile etc.
Blissed out and proud that my legs were able to bring me to so many places, I was completely knackered and famished by the time the evening rolled around. Without even realizing, my first proper full day in Florence had come to an end.
Blown away by the beauty and historical value of this place, it left me fueled up and ready to take on the rest of my Italian Adventures.
la vita e bella.
life is beautiful.