Its 10 pm and we just arrived in Florence. The taxi driver stop us in front of a big wooden door: “This is your location, Opera Relais De Charme hotel”. We are ringing the bell few times but we get no answer. A couple leaving the building suggest us to call the hotel mobile number, as reception is closed at this time.
“Another italian issue”, I am thinking. You cant show up for the check in anytime, in Italy everything has its own schedule which needs to be strictly respected.
We try not to ruin our mood, entering in the closest pub, we grab a glass of Proseco while we are waiting for the receptionist arrival.
Its weekend and the young italians are gathering as usual outside, sipping from their glass of wine.
Florence, the treasure of Italy
Next day, armed with a pen and a notebook, my baby is working hard on our itinerary in Florence.
The whole city is an open air museum, guarded in each and every corner by the impressive masterpieces with enormous cultural value. Dante Allighieri, Da Vinci and Macchiavelli are standing together in the Ufizzi Galerry and seems to watch with interest the thousands tourists while a black David is lying in the middle of Piazza de la Republica.
This is a replica of the most famous art work of Michelangelo and was unvailed after the Nice attacks. The sculpture is named “Noi” (Us) and represent a declaration of freedom and equality regarless of race, gender or religion. Many people see it but only few understand its purpose and this being said, a lady almost same naked as David is placing her butt close to the privat area of the statue while her boyfriend is trying to catch the best shoot.
Leaving this scene behind, we find a good restaurant with a perfect view over the piazza, following with enthusiasm the performance of a retired soprano who is enchanting the tourists with her divine voice.
Sunset with a view
Its almost the sunset time and according to Abdulla’s notes we should be in Piazzale Michelangelo. Tired and thirsty we climb the hundred stairs which leeds to the terace, under the burning sun. We are literary above the city with a full view over the Duomo, Ponte Vechio and other cathedrals of Florence while another replica of David is standing fearless as a God of an ancient world watching over his creation.
I am getting anxious when I realize that I cant immortalize the breathtaking landscape in a perfect picture because of the sun which “doesnt have the right position” and I am totally ruining the romantic evening. Abdulla is trying to calm down his “crazy girlfriend” who complain having an “artist eye which nobody understands”, runing to catch the last minute of the sunset at Ponte Vecchio.
Ponte Vecchio, the heart of Florence
The colorful bridge over the Arno river, hosting in present numerous shops and illegal vendors has a fascinating history. Its beauty impressed even the feared Adolf Hitler who blew up the other bridges and the constructions around but left the Ponte Vecchio intact considering it ” too beautiful to be destroyed”. Telling Abdulla this interesting story, we refer to the leader of nazi as “Adolfo” and the thought that he could have been an ordinary parmigiano seller make us laughing out loud.
Few couples made their wow of eternal love leaving behind a small pad lock as incontestable proof over the time while the key probably found its resting place on the bottom of the river.
Misterious falls at Palazzo Pitti
Next point on Abdulla’s agenda are the Boboli gardens. Wandering in circle for few hours, wrong directed by Google map and the funny traffic signs of Florence we are finally droped off by a taxi on the Belvedere fort.
Our attention is captured by a misterious banner, which commemorates Veronica Locatelly, a young artist who felt to her death from one of the bastions of Palazzo Pitti, while celebrating her birthday. Other unexplained deaths complete the tragic chain of events including some dogs which jumped over the parapets. Intrigued by the warning message, we totally forget about our paradisiac gardens, going in search of adventure at Palazzo Pitti.
“Spiritual guards” of the palace
The fortress builded during the 16th century by order of the Medici familly is nowadays used as an open art gallery. Our arrival doesnt pass unnoticed, being welcomed by the “Man who laughs and cries in the same time”, an innovative creation of a belgium contemporany artist, Jan Fabre. The bronze statue is part of “The spiritual guards”, a large collection spread across Florence, freezing for a moment the blood of the tourists with its hysterical laugh.
Amazed by the unusual vision of the artist we are watching with interest all his creations, placed with grace in such an wonderful scenery.
Piazza del Duomo
Happy that we “escaped” from the fortress alive, we follow the course of Arno river until Piazza del Duomo. Being already late, most of the museums are about to close and the tickets for “Santa Maria del Fiore” cathedral are out of sale. We admire the beautiful facade from outside, stuned by the simetrical design of Gothic style which give the impression of a giant puzzle, covered on top by a marvelous cupola. The Duomo construction started in 1296 and important artists worked restless over 140 years to complete with perfection its design.
We are walking through the tiny medieval streets, delighted with the beautiful mix of Renaissance culture and the contemporary design until we reach Palazzo Vecchio. Few carriage pulled by horses are standing in front on the entrance, completing the retro ambiance, waiting for the tourists willing to pay a considerable amount of money in exchange of an unforgettable promenade.
Saying goodbye to Florence