Fun Fun and More Fun in Firenze!

I love writing posts about Italy because I really fell in love with every city we visited there. Firenze (aka Florence) was no exception. I lovvvvved Florence. And not just because its historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site (although – GRAVY)!!!! I visited Italy with my friend Darcie and we spent a good chunk of time visiting Rome, Florence, Venice and Pisa.

Florence was a surprise to me, primarily because it was the one town we visited for which I had zero expectations. I had no idea when we arrived that it would look like this.

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Since we had no expectations and were on no real agenda, we decided to be really leisurely in Firenze. We spent most of our days and nights wandering. Soaking in the culture. Admiring the art. And drinking vino and grappa to our heart’s content.firenze (2) (Small)

We also ate a lot of gelato. and I do mean a lot. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Italy has got a lot of statues, no doubt. But Florence has a special breed of statues. Statues that really make you stop what you’re doing and have a second glance.

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Darcie and I were talking about how absurd it is that in the states, we take all of our old documents and art and guard them with our lives. We form barricades and lines around things like the liberty bell. But in Italy, where artifacts are hundreds, if not thousands, of years older, they leave everything out in the open. A local that we met in Italy told us that just the weekend before, a drunk tourist was climbing on this statue and broke his arm off.

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Here’s a closer view where you can see his broken arm. firenze (6) (Small)

This looks familiar doesn’t it? One might even think it was a statue of Michelangelo’s David. But you’d be wrong. The original statue of David is located indoors at the Gallerie dell’Accademia. There are actually a few replica statues strewn about the city. This is one of the more famous ones. And like the one above, you’re allowed to climb all over this one too if you want.

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We opted not to climb, but rather to take photos in front.

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Darcie shot some close ups for, you know, just in case.

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e also visited the Duomo. It’s large and gorgeous and one of Europe’s more impressive features, in my mind. This is not my image, but I didn’t have any images of the entire building and I thought this one was impressive. Photo by: Absolute Visit

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I wasn’t traveling with a wide angle, so yeah … here’s my Duomo pic 😉MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

We were young and in shape and not claustrophobic, so why not make the trek up the narrow stairway to the very top?

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This is the inside of the dome portion. Far be it from Italian Catholics not to paint every last inch of available space with a dramatic church scene. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

At the top, you’re treated to some really breathtaking views of the famous Firenze skyline.

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In every direction, beauty.firenze (13) (Small)

These are actually film images converted to digital. I was shooting with a Nikon N64 back then.firenze (14) (Small)

That church in the top right photo, Basilica di Santa Croce,is the backdrop of one of me and Darcie’s most memorable experiences, ever. But more on that later. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

A stairway with a view.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a closer look at the artwork inside the Duomo. You can really see the level of detail that goes into the paintings. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

And yet another stellar Firenze rooftop view.firenze (18) (Small)

Building upon building. But gorgeous.

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I have always wanted to return to Italy with my dad. I just think he’d appreciate the architecture so much. He’s been traveling a lot lately, so there’s a chance he’s already gone. But if you haven’t yet dad, what say you??

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Still wishing I had my wide angle. Always wishing I had my wide angle.

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This door is pretty famous. I can’t remember exactly, but I believe it depicts different scenes from the bible. Darc??

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Darcie was handed this very stylish cover-up after being told she didn’t have enough clothes on to enter the church. Rookie American.

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It wasn’t all churches and statues. We took advantage of the Florence nightlife as well!firenze (26) (Small)

Sunset near Ponte Vecchio …firenze (27) (Small)

They’re everywhere now, but Italy was the first time we had ever seen a smart car. We determined that this model must have been the predecessor. And while we couldn’t really see them working in Hawaii, which is dominated by large trucks and 4×4’s, we did come home and seek out the rights to bring them to America. Obviously, that plan didn’t quite pan out.firenze (28) (Small)

A 3-pack of Heinys?? Only in Italy.firenze (29) (Small)

Swoon. firenze (30) (Small)

We discovered that wedges were a good compromise between high heels and flats when trying to navigate Italy’s many, many cobblestone streets.firenze (31) (Small)

Another one of Florence’s more … interesting … statues.

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And this place. Oh, this place. Enoteca Boccadama is a little sidewalk café located in front of Basilica di Santa Croce at the Piazza of the same name. And it is one of the most tranquil places in the universe. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

This is the patio of the restaurant facing the basilica.

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This is the other side of the very charming and quaint piazza. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

See the look on Darcie’s face? It’s because she and I were just in bliss at this place. The food was amazing. The wine was on point. The atmosphere was just so incredibly relaxing. And everything in life was just good. I think there was a point where neither of us were talking because we were both just so lost in life at that moment. That’s only happened to me a very small handful of times, one of which was while lying in the grass in Machu Picchu. Other than that, not very often. So yes, I loved this day. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

It was such a live-in-the-moment moment that I don’t even remember what I ate. But it looks like lasagna. I do remember it was delish. Oh, and even the water was perfect.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

We loved this square so much that we returned there several times during our stay. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The streets of Florence.

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I think it goes without saying that the food in Italy is just ridiculously good. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

And the wine too, obvi. We actually each shipped a case home from this store. Tasty. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

And of course, we made friends. Cuz isn’t that the best part of traveling, after all??firenze (43) (Small)

Watch out for those Italian guys. They’re out to get ya!MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Ponte Vecchio lived up to its name as well. This entire bridge has been flooded over a couple times, but they keep rebuilding it, and today it is lined from edge to edge with jewelry stores. Pretty high end jewelry stores too. It’s quite a site.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

View off of Ponte Vecchio. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s quite the tourist attraction.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

And here it is by night. firenze (48) (Small)

Darcie and I both fell in love with the Italian leather and we each ended up getting purses and jackets. To this day, it’s the softest leather jacket I’ve ever owned.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a famous balcony (or lack thereof), but honestly I can’t remember what it’s famous for. You can see that it sits above the statue of fake David (bottom right corner).

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It’s in the same square as all these other crazy statues. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh, we also went to this famous museum. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

It houses all these famous paintings. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

And the real statue of David. =)

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