Not All I Expected

I had really been looking forward to visiting Florence. What had I been expecting? I’m not really even sure. I am sure I probably expected too much…the birthplace of the Renaissance, covered in the fingerprints (sometimes literally) of the greatest artists of the time. Architectural innovations developed here that spread the world over. A city whose misty history is steeped in intrigue and murder and, well, Machiavelli.

What I found was a chunky, heavy city (sometimes even gaudy) with very narrow sidewalks overflowing with people who also tugged luggage. As crowded as the city was, I am so glad we didn’t go at the high season. Lots of buildings and things were covered and being refurbished or renovated or restored. We heard English as much as other languages, quite surprisingly, and rarely ever encountered someone who couldn’t speak to us. We found mostly mediocre food, with occasional bright spots, probably because our price range dictated mediocre restaurants; it was very expensive almost everywhere.

We also found occasional jewels, a few masterpieces, and some fun moments, and consistently the best cappuccinos ever.

This had some beautiful details, and like so many things in the city, was also being refurbished. Note plenty of people, in the rain, early in the morning.

This had some beautiful details, and like so many things in the city, was also being refurbished. Note plenty of people, in the rain, early in the morning.

The tourists were truly from EVERYwhere. And groups of 15-20 or more clustered in tours all over the place.

The tourists were truly from EVERYwhere. And groups of 15-20 or more clustered in tours all over the place.

I discovered that narrow streets make for a darker city.

I discovered that narrow streets make for a darker city.

But the view from the Piazza Michelangelo was very pretty, even in the rain. And amazingly, I could see the old city walls, reminding me that this was once a fortified city, often having to defend itself from other armies.

The Piazza was a long way up. This is about halfway.

The Piazza was a long way up. This is about halfway.

The view from our hike to Piazza Michelangelo.

The view from our hike to Piazza Michelangelo.

The original wall of Florence.

The original wall of Florence.

Enjoying the city with plenty of elbow space!

Enjoying the city with plenty of elbow space!

Florence

Florence

A copy of the David at the Piazza. I had no idea he was so BIG!

A copy of the David at the Piazza. I had no idea he was so BIG!

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “Not All I Expected

  1. I was in Florence last summer too and felt overwhelmed by how commercial/touristy everything was. I felt much better once we escaped to Cinque Terre where it was a little less crowded.

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