17 luglio 2009
Firenze, Italia - I have returned home. After living for close to half a year in this amazing city, I don't know why I was caught off guard as my eyes started watering as our bus drove past my ex-apartment building, the TIM store where I bought my phone and bought ricariche after ricariche, the CEDIT office building, and the various bus stops that only months earlier I frequented daily.
It was nice to get the chance to settle into our rooms last night knowing that we'd be staying for the next four nights. The Hotel Corona d'Italia is ideally situated near San Lorenzo and all the happenings in this city. After dinner we wasted no time and took the group to Vivoli, the best gelato in town. Richard Canning, our tour guide, is truly amazing. He has managed to pack into our limited time so much and still figured out ways to give us ample free time to explore on our own. It was nice to walk the streets that I still consider my own - passing Plazza della Reppublica, il Mercato Porcellino, the Ponte Vecchio, continuing along the river passed the Uffizi buildings and moving towards Santa Croce and that amazing Vivoli.
After last night it is a good thing we all rested well because today's tour of the city was intense. It began bright at early at 8am. We made our way to the Accademia to view Michelangelo's masterpiece, the David. As many times as I have entered the Accademia, it was the first time I was able to see Michelangelo's later works, i Prigioni. I absolutely loved them - I stared at them for the entire visit as our very knowledgeable city guide, Bernardo, explained in such detail the artistic mastefulness of the David.
Afterwards we continued our way towards Santa Maria del Fiore to admire Brunelleschi's Duomo and Ghiberti's baptistery doors. We strolled down Via dei Calzaiuoli where all the girls had the chance to glimpse at the window displays of al the latest designer boutiques until we arrived at Piazza dela Signoria where we admired Alberti's Palazzo Vecchio and the various sculptures guarding its doors, including the fountain of Neptune (our meeting place for later in the afternoon).
By 11am, we had moved onwards, passing the Bargello museum and entering Piazza Santa Croce. Inside Santa Croce we admired tombs of Fiorentine legends. Unfortunately (and yet fortunately) some of the tombs were covered due to restoration. But it was amazing to walk among such great men as Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, Macchiavelli, and Lorenzo Ghiberti. Now we are just finishing up some leather shopping after a rather entertaining leather demonstration, including our very own fashion show.
We are off to enjoy some free time and lunch, but later this afternoon the group will be entering the Uffizi to admire some of the most treasured pieces of art. I will be passing on this excursion to assist Zia to the bus station and then I will be taking my own nostalgic bus trip to the Coop near my apartment to buy some provisions before returning to the center for free time this evening.
Until our meeting at the Neptune in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, travel on.
-- post made from iPaolo