Florence Part 1

Welcome back to more of my travel log! For those who read thank you! Here’s a link to my last travel blog and my last hobby blog.

The train ride from Rome to Florence went about as smoothly as it could. I had finally gotten the process down of taking trains with a bike and that brought the level of stress down tremendously after a morning of nearly getting run over by Roman traffic earlier in the day.

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I arrived at Santa Maria Novella Stazione in the late afternoon as the sun started that lovely process of casting wide shadows with all of the buildings. The cycle to the flat was much more uneventful than the morning’s adventure through the frantic Roman travel. Florentine traffic was much more laid back by comparison and that was already a good omen.

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I waited in the small suburban street that was shadowed from the day’s final sharp rays of sunlight. Before long a tall kind woman in a post office uniform turned the corner and let me into my new home for the week. The flat had many rules written in both italian and then in sometimes hilariously mistranslated english. One instructed us not to eat our shoes, I was just happy to have a comfortable bed where I could rest my head. Soon I met my roommates a couple of Brasilian girls, Vitoria and Daniela. I was so excited and they were to have someone to speak portuguese with. I explained to them that I spent 4 years growing up in Brasil when I was young. Our other roommate was a girl from the Netherlands  Sofie who had enough attitude and gumption to keep us all entertained. She chatted on and on about how she nearly missed her train in Naples because she got distracted with the sights and then nearly wasn’t let on the train Not to long after she called her boyfriend back home and I heard my first bit of their language. At first it was just funny to hear. All or the yerps and arrps eerrps are not something my ear was used to hearing unless something accidental is happening. After practicing my Portuguese with the Brasilian girls and them practicing their english for some time we all decided to turn in.

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The morning after I took off on my own. There was a nearby cafe and I ordered a cappuccino and tart in my broken but steadily improving italian and got a not as terrible look from the barista. The atmosphere of Florence brought me some kind of ease. Sitting and sipping my coffee that morning I felt very much at home in this new environment.

I stepped off the bus back at Santa Maria Novella and decided to make my way to the Arno on foot and just follow it to the Uffizi. Florence still in so many ways feels trapped in the renaissance. everything is close together, most things are beautiful. The only difference is the technology, which feels secondary to the place. Florence’s Duomo, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Flore is the dominating presence in the city and no matter where you are you can always find it. even when you aren’t looking for it you end up there. Like a colossal white marble magnet it draws you to its doors. The face of the church is just stunning white marble statues composed around the door accented by green and pink marble slates. my words truly aren’t enough so here’s a photo

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I had to break my hypnosis to continue to move through the city, stippled through the narrow streets were these little gems of architecture and simple beauty. I encountered pockets of architecture students drawing some of these old buildings and I felt the strong urge to join them, I unfortunately left my drawing materials at home though. I contented my creativity by watching their deadly accurate hands replicate the building with a brutal sharpness that was foreign to my own loose and gestural style. It was beautiful to see nonetheless inspiring me to try to find my own measure of control in my work.

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Hearing the gentle rush of the Arno let me know I was close to my goal. The closer I came the more students I saw moving around drawing buildings. Once I made it to the river I paused for a moment to take in the Ponte Vecchio as well as the second half of the city across the river. There was an old hallway of columns that followed along the road leading to the Old Bridge that shielded me from the ever harsher rays of light coming from the sun.

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I gazed across the arched bridge and decided that today would not be the day that I crossed it, to keep that mystery for another time. Instead I went the other way because I heard the echo of a crowd murmuring. After a short walk I looked left to find a large plaza I made my way over and entered the Piazza della Signoria which is at the north end of the Uffizi Gallery. It is full of sculpture as well with a small exhibit of some 20 or so pieces in very close proximity. Even more interesting to me though was the Uffizi. Even though the line was long I decided to hop in and tour the old building. My time in the Uffizi will have its own devoted article.

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After exploring one of the best museums in the world I was utterly exhausted, my creative self was at its limit for taking in art and needed some time to partially digest all that my eyes had seen before visiting another gallery. The bus ride in return was a delicious respite from the brutal summer heat that the Tuscan summer had served up.
The local grocery store served up the basics of food that I was in the mood for. in particular som Aglio Olio which is essentially spaghetti with garlic and a bunch of olive oil. One of my favorite things while traveling is to visit the local grocery stores. You learn so much about the culture just through the foods people are picking. There was a whole section devoted to tomatoes in all of the different varieties bread and cheese were also big sections as well as the wine. it was all so delicious looking and all so affordable.
When I returned home to the flat I made the whole box of pasta that I had bought and ate the whole thing in a single sitting. No one else was home and It was one of the highlights of the day.

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every one started to trickle in from their own days of exploration. and we all shared stories and chatted into the night. Vitoria teased Daniella, they both made fun of me for my Portugues that was now mutated into an abomination that had abnormalities of spanish and italian. The girl from the Netherlands called home and told us of her frantic day where she did as much as all 3 of us combined.

Thank you for reading, this is the first time in a few weeks I have truly enjoyed writing and I think that is partially to do with the location. While I enjoyed my time in Rome I was ready to leave after nearly one day and now looking back at my writing I felt the same energy that I felt during my time in the city. That’s all for now!

Anthony

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