Rome to Florence // 12 Days in Italia [Pt. II]

Day 2: March 22, 2013

Florence is one of my favorite cities in the world. Once a bustling merchant city and the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance– any artist or lover of art and culture would surely fall in love with this place. I’m fortunate enough to have visited Firenze (Florence) twice, the first time being the summer of 2011. From what I remember, it was vibrant, busy, crowded; simply full of life in every corner. Last March 22, 2013 however, having gone right at the end of winter, Firenze was dark and less crowded but not lacking the charm and spirit that draws anyone, regardless of the season apparently, to the beautiful city.

I must warn you viewers though. This post is photo-heavy and by that I mean eighty photos heavy. If your bandwidth can handle it (and I hope it can), please enjoy this set of photos. If you haven’t seen Firenze during the end of winter– cloudy, deep shadows, more cigarettes lit compared to when it’s summer– then proceed under the cut! 😀

My room mate, Sam Reyes, and I woke up at 5 am because we were the ‘roosters’ aka those who will wake up the rest of the group.

I volunteered to be a rooster so I can catch my first (and last hahahaha) Italian sun rise! We were just too tired during the latter part of the trip to wake up early and watch the sun go up :))

Another reason for waking up early was to check if my luggage arrived safely and in one piece. EMOTIONAL REUNION. [Oh you don’t know what happened? Then see my previous post.]

The dome of St. Peter’s as seen from our hotel parking area :))

From the rooftop of our hotel. Not a bad view!

Unlimited coffee for breakfast. I know they’re just automatic capsule espressos BUT COME OOON. This is way better than your average brewed coffee in a pot. :))

Even young Italians drink coffee.

This was on the way to Firenze. The tinted windows of the bus really messed up the colors of my photos so I made most of them black and white instead. This was also my first time seeing a herd of sheep.

The skies are bluer and the grass is greener in Italy.

We stopped by an Auto Grill to get some snacks. Here’s some ready made Bruschetta and Pesto. Italian junk food is still so delicious.

Finally, Firenze!

The bus dropped us off near the Arno river. I hope you can see the man playing ball with his dog below.

The Santa Croce Basilica where Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and other important Italian figures are buried. You’ll see one of the many Dante statues in Firenze at the bottom left of the picture. Unfortunately, the remains of Dante can’t be found in Firenze, his birthplace. 😦

Aging fresco facade of this building.

Fontana del Nettuno by Ammannati located at the Piazza della Signoria

Pigeons everywhere.

We copied the lady above and crushed the biscuits we saved from breakfast.

Bird feed fail. Just kidding. This kid’s cuteness compensates for her lack of bird feeding skills. Totally not at par with ours. Hahaha jk!

Replica of Michelangelo’s Dante outside the Palazzo Vecchio, which was once the government seat of the Medici family (Cosimo I de’ Medici).

To its right is the Hercules and Cacus by Bandinelli

Another reason why I love Firenze: The artists.

So Sam dropped her iPhone. It was no match against the Italian stone floors.

Ponte Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio again. I used the 5d’s HDR mode that’s why the people at the bottom left look, um, weird.

Two kinds of people you will almost always see in every tourist-flocked street in Italy: Street performers and gypsies.

Firenze’s Cathedral, THE DUOMO! It’s so massive that it can hardly fit my camera frame. This photo was shot by Cielo.

Look at that intricate marble exterior! So many patterns but everything came off as harmonious! Just wow.

The Baptistery.

We had our first authentic Italian meal at this restaurant.

Perfection.

Lol we always have pictures with Italians that we get to talk to. :))

Inside this beautiful Gothic church.

Vasari’s Last Judgement.

The view once you exit the Duomo:

Piazza della Signoria again

Before we left, I had to buy my mum some paintings. Finally got to buy one from this Florentine artist that I remembered seeing back in 2011!

Here he was during the summer of 2011, at the exact same spot!

Firenze at sunset as we were driving away. What a dramatic scene. 😦 I’ll be back, Firenze! Hopefully during the Fall or even Winter!

After the 3 or 4 hour drive, we grabbed a late night pizza dinner at some local pizzeria. We ate inside our hotel rooms and talked about our wonderful Italy experience so far. A nice way to conclude the day. 🙂

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