Some more Florence
|(Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
David at the Accademia
Like every other tourist visiting Florence I was determined to see all the tourist sites – the churches, the architecture, the paintings and the piazzas. As I walked through this very walkable part of the old city I actually began to feel sorry for its inhabitants. Imagine being invaded by armies of tourists of every colour and hue determinedly walking down cobbled streets, well armed with cameras and iPads, following their flag bearing tourist guide leader , day after day, year after year?
But obviously, I wasn’t Florence to sit in a hotel with no view. I had to make the most of my twenty four hours. I had booked the first available time in the morning for my visit to the Accademia as I was fed up of peering over peoples’ shoulders or through chinks in the crowd. I got an 8.15 slot and after a delicious breakfast of eggs, ham and cheese at the Axial, walked through a decidedly sunny Florence to the Galleria. The Accademia was a decidedly plain building – so plain that I almost missed it. It was only the straggly line of tourists waiting along the pavement that drew my attention to it. Luckily I was the first to enter and I was rewarded with a clear unobstructed view of this magnificent statue. Rick Steves commentary worked well this time and I had my own private conducted tour of this gallery.
On my way out, I decided to stop by at the Piazza della SS Annunziata and heard rock music. Getting more and more curious, I went ahead with rock music getting louder and louder as It seemed to be a Rock Concert or the remains of a Rock Concert with the Piazza filled with young people, music blaring and cop cars in attendance. It definitely wasn’t my scene and I beat a hasty retreat. It was just as well, as I found out later on that this was no rock concert but a genuine RIOT going on!!
Continuing my walk towards the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, I came across the Chiesa di San Lorenzo a magnificent church said to be the oldest church in Florence. It was still early in the morning and the street stalls were not yet set up and everything seemed picture perfect.
I came across the Piazza Santa Maria which I had stumbled upon my first day and was struck by the peace and quiet this place exuded so early in the day.
Walking further down I came upon the Palazzo Strozzi and when I stepped out I found myself in a street that just smelled of money. Literally for it was lined with high fashion names like Gucci, and Armani and every Haute Couture fashion house that you could think of on Via Tornabuoni.
A Museum with a difference
At the bottom of the street was the the Palazzo Spini Feroni or the Temple of Chic and Ultimate Conspicuous Consumption, the Salvatore Ferragamo shoe museum. So gobsmacked was I by this discovery that I just had to step in and have a look. After twenty four hours of absorbing ancient and medieval culture, I was happy to give my eyes a break in this highly unusual museum.
I walked out of the museum to find myself in front of a bridge which turned out to be the Ponte santa Trinita which took me across the Arno yet another time. Since the day was decidedly sunnier, I walked all the way to the Pitti Palace but once again daunted by the hordes of tourists waiting in line and the lack of time made me turn away towards my hotel. On the way back I came upon another gem which I had completely overlooked, the Orsanmichele, a gorgeous gothic church built in what was originally a granary.
With still so many treasures still to be discovered, I will have to visit Florence yet another time! Till then Arrivederci………..