Yes, i need to rewind time more by going back to a 2009 post!! No it is not that, but i notice a lot of my traffic hits are for my travel posts that i have written. And i never really finished my Italy tour posts, so i decided to close off Florence, Venice and Pisa and that would be the end. [ i skipped Milan because i found that place most boring in terms of Historical things i want to see] Though the last point of my tour was in Nice, France, i am probably not posting on Nice because ... i spend more time shopping than taking photos in Nice! :P Also, i have been playing around with HDR recently, so i had some nice emo pictures of buildings.
The trip to Florence was from Pisa onwards. It's about 6-7 hours drive which is normally a koon job with 2 hour pit stops at the AutoGrill. Actually, it is compulsory that heavy vehicles such as lorries and buses make a pit stop every 2 hours so that the driver can rest and the passengers can exercise their legs. In fact, they chase you off the bus to ensure you walk around to get the blood flowing. I only wish that Malaysian governments impose such a rule here.
Firenze or Florence is a city steeped with history and arts especially during the Renaissance period. And it is the capital of the area of Tuscany. One more interesting fact, the city was awarded a Unesco World Heritage site in 1982. So far, i think i have been to like 10 or more of these Unesco sites already namely Kyoto, Lijiang in China, Melaka of course, Florence, Salzburg, Blue Mountains in Oz, Prague, Nara, Salt Mines in Poland, Graz in Austria, Siena (My favorites are the ones in red) .... and really, it lives up to the titles. And ooh looks, i am a well traveled cat!!. These are the places you can go a few times and you will still find something unique and interesting about the place.
Since Firenze is a place famous for the arts, it has no shortage of museums and musical halls and was the birthplace to many and home to many famous historical figures... . Even... Machiavelli.. and Dante. ( Creepy isn't it ) The ruling family in Firenze were the Medici's, a large political dynasty with vast dealings in banking and their patronage in the arts can be seen clearly in the city of Florence. Being a very commercial city, they have one area across the River Arno, where there area lot of shops especially jewellery shops.
Like any old city in Italy, this place is a place you need to walk. The buses stop outside the city and you need to walk to the central city to be able to look around at the place. I was pretty excited as we had about 4 hours free in Firenze and i wanted to check out a DaVinci exhibition happening there..... (about 10 euros) however, the queue ... was extremely long -____________- ....
Italy, is full of Duomo's and it's no surprise that Florence has it's own Duomo as well. This is pic below is the famous il Duomo Cathedral in the middle of the city of Florence. You can pay a small amount to tour the Cathedral but depends if you haven't been to any before. Since i was at St Paul, i gave it pass to tour the rest of the city.
The many staring, and rather ... angry looking statues in Florence
But be careful in the City though, there are lots and lots and lots of pigeons in this place. And at any time, they can air raid you from the top, as my aunty found out. *Grin*. We told her to buy lottery that day since she manage to get air-raided.
One of the interesting things happening Europe is this lock and key practice on ... practically any where there are fences metal or otherwise, there are people (couples actually) who put a lock there, write their names and throw away the key. And now authorities are cracking down on people who try to do this. This one of the pictures across the bridge of River Arno, next to a statue fence, people have been er... locking their locks, with their name. Their belief is that if you throw away the key, their love or relationship will last forever and ever. Curiously, i asked the guide, if there is anyone who have not have lasting relationships as a result of below and apparently, a few couples ( or ex couples ) have come back to BReak the locks!! See the broken or cut lock and a whopping 5 EURO for that lock? Hehehe, relationship gone sour. Moral of the story: if it is suppose to work, it will work. No way a silly belief can make it any stronger or make it last. [Skeptic here...]
The city square of Florence (Palazzo Vecchio) also is the home of a very famous man. Even more famous than Leonardo or Galileo. He spends his days standing butt naked in front of everyone... He is.... David from the Bible, as in David and Goliath. Michaelangelo's famous perfectly sculpted statue of a man. It is considered by some to be a perfect form of the human male... but i kinda tot David's head was a bit big for the body! This actually not the actual statue, only a replica though outside the square. Let it be known, David gets molested daily by tourist and flashed at (literally ) by cameras daily!
David is not alone in nudity, Neptune also stands butt naked in this square!... Okay, i was thoroughly amused in this square of naked statues. Actually it is kind of a cheap way to enjoy art without having to pay euros to go into the museum. In fact many notable ... ( and naked ) statues are found in this square for you to enjoy. Just photoshop out the bird poo from the statues and you get a perfectly museum quality statue here. I don't suppose any of these statues will be making their way here to malaysia, so inappropriately undressed! Probably some cloth is required to "censor" certain bits.
It's not only men you see sorta naked, there is also the famous Rape of Sabine Women statue here in the Loggia Dei Lanzi. And this one is not a replica but an actual statue. 2001, this statue was restored as the pollution in the city was destroying the statue and the city embarked on restoring the statue. Don't ask me who the guy behind there trying to clobber a centaur is. And i missed out the statue of Perseus with Medusa's head. That would have made some awesome picture!
More sights along the river in Florence. It's a lovely place to just walk around and enjoy the sights.
More walking and walking but no shopping, ... too expensive to shop in Italy, i went in the height of Euro high.
One of my favorite streets in Florence, along the river, on a bridge, two rows of jewellery shops. You can get lovely Cameo brooches, earrings and pendants here. On top of the shops are actually a path way that connects the shops to the main part of the city. The Medici family use this as a means of getting around the city, especially when they transported money.
After wandering around town for a good 2 hours ( my legs were sore then ) i had time to drink coffee and sample some cakes. Frankly, i ate till i popped in Italy that time. Really, the word 1 day 5 meals was something i adhered to when i was traveling in Italy. I can't resist the gelato and the cakes all within smelling range! There is a cafe near the square that I ordered Tiramisu ( in the quest for the best Tiramisu in Italy ) but i found this so-so. Pretty as it looks, i have eaten better Tiramisu. This was a whopping er ... 4 Euro, best to be shared .. :). There was this story of Tiramisu my tour guide was telling me but i completely forgotten it!
Next up, my other favorite place in Italy. Venice!