One year in China. Let's do this!

Going with the flow in Florence

Four years ago, at the end of a summer spent teaching English in small towns around Italy, I decided to take a week to travel to some of the most touristic sights around the country.  Eight days and four cities later, I had seen quite a bit.  Florence was a spectacle, with the Ponte Vecchio, Duomo, and replicas of the Statue of David stationed in piazzas around the city.  It was like a massive free museum.

This time around, my visit to Florence was slightly more hectic.  I had planned a grand day filled with ridiculously touristy stops and was pumped to play tourist for a bit of the day trip even though this trip was for work.

But then it rained.

And then I got horrifically lost.

And then I was late for a meeting.

Overall, the odds were really in my favor that day.  Luckily, I did get to my meeting, and was able to successfully make it on a bus back to Rome at the end of the day, so I made it to Florence and back, but there were quite a few hiccups along the way.  The combination of these three slip-ups made my tourist plans go straight down the toilet.  I was not able to take an Insta-worthy shot of the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo that is positioned several hundred meters above the center of the city, or hear the monks singing Gregorian chants at the San Miniato al Monte cathedral, or get an anatomy lesson at the Uffizi’s Accademia Gallery seeing the Statue of David, or get a gelato while strolling through the Piazza della Liberta.

Sob.

Since I had three and a half days of Florence sightseeing under my belt from my previous trip, I wasn’t as crushed.  But it gives me a reason to revisit the city to make sure I go to these places.

Here is what I did see though:

A view overlooking the grounds of Villa La Pietra.  The villa has five different buildings, each with a different name and purpose.  The villas seen here are part of the study away campus but the grounds are open to the public.

A view overlooking the grounds of Villa La Pietra. The villa has five different buildings, each with a different name and purpose. The villas seen here are part of the study away campus but the grounds are open to the public.

Villa La Pietra is a beautiful villa that was donated to NYU Florence after the owners passed away in the 1900s.  The villa is open to the public, even though it is used as a university study away campus.  The villa is currently the base of a 5,000+ piece museum collection, and it is stunning.  The art pieces are medieval, the furniture would make the Queen of England jealous, the dresses from the former ladies of the villa simply beautiful.  And for those that are wishing for a bit of education, the Villa also has fascinating lecture series open to the public through their series called La Pietra Dialogues.

One of the many expansive rooms found in the museum in Villa La Pietra.

One of the many expansive rooms found in the museum in Villa La Pietra.

After an afternoon visit strolling the 57-acre grounds of the villa, I headed back down to the city center to capture the night time views at the Duomo.  A quick cioccolato caldo later, I was on the fast train back to Rome.

Nothing beats a cioccolato caldo on a cold, rainy day right before having to head back out into the evening showers.  Italy has figured out how to make these perfectly, with a cup going for about 2 euros.  It's chocolate melted in a cup.  Swiss Miss is going to seem very much like a MISS after this.

Nothing beats a cioccolato caldo on a cold, rainy day right before having to head back out into the evening showers. Italy has figured out how to make these perfectly, with a cup going for about 2 euros. It’s chocolate melted in a cup. Swiss Miss is going to seem very much like a MISS after this.

This train is magnificent – zooming through the Tuscan countryside at 245 km/hour, it gets passengers from Roma Termini to Firenze Santa Maria Novella in 1.5 hours.  While the prices jump substantially the closer to your time of departure you wait to book your tickets, they are quite a bargain.  The day before price was 35 euro, whereas a two week in advance purchase would go for about 14 euro each way.

While I took this picture as I was sprinting to the bus stop worried I would miss my train back to Rome, it did make the frantic run back to Santa Maria Novella a more picturesque one.

While I took this picture as I was sprinting to the bus stop worried I would miss my train back to Rome, it did make the frantic run back to Santa Maria Novella a more picturesque one.

 

So perhaps another trip to Florence is in order in the future to complete the city travel check list.

Advertisements

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: