Monday afternoon (May 23), we took the train from Cortona to Florence. When we arrived at the train station in Florence, our professors gave us the addresses for the apartments we were going to be staying in, our roommate assignments and 20 Euro and said go get a cab to your apartment and meet back at the steps of the Duomo at 7 tonight. WHAAA. Thrown right out of the nest and into the whirlwind that is the city of Florence.
Day 1: We arrived in Florence and had the afternoon to settle and explore.
Day 2: BIG DAY! SO MUCH ART! First, we went to the Galleria dell’Accademia as a group. The Galleria dell’Accademia is most famous for housing Michelangelo’s iconic David sculpture, as well as his lesser known but equally amazing prisoner statues. This group of statues was commissioned by the pope for his tomb, but were never finished. Because they are unfinished, they look as though the subjects are trying to break their way out of the marble. They are completely awe-inspiring and fascinating. I loved looking at them so much, that I got left by my group because I was in there for so long. It was (claimed to be) purely accidental.
After a momentary freak out, I discovered that I was very close to the Museo di San Marco, which houses an extensive collection of Fra Angelico frescos. “Annunciation” by Fra Angelico is one of my absolute favorite pieces of art. And I got to see it. In real life. It was indescribable. UH. After staring at “Annunciation” and all the other frescos for an excessive amount of time, I went and got some gelato. Mint and chocolate of course.
After that, I went to see the Baptistry of San Giovanni. You walk in and you look up and it’s all gold. It’s a bit overwhelming.
Later that day, I made my way to the Museo Novecento. This museum is dedicated to exclusively showing Italian art from the 20th century. I was pleasantly surprised by it and am glad to have stumbled upon it.
Day 3: In the morning, we went to the Museo di Galileo as a group. After that, a couple of us went into Galleria Uffizi. The Galleria Uffizi houses one of the best collections of Renaissance art in the world. We saw works by Botecelli, Lippi, Rembrandt, Goya, Michelangelo, Titian, and many many more amazing works. After taking in all that art, we did some mindless shopping. We later met up with the rest of the group to watch the sunset over Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo.
Day 4: BIKE DAY! Late morning we took a bus up and out of town to grab lunch and meet up with our bike tour guides. We all got our goofy helmets and our bikes adjusted and we were off. In total, we biked about 20 miles, through the hills above Florence, down into the heart of the city. It was amazing. We had views of the hills and the city the whole entire ride. The most intense part was part of the group, myself included, had to ride with the guide to the bike shop in downtown Florence. So yeah, I’ve biked through downtown Florence. Super unexpected, a little scary, very exhilarating. I feel like a local now.
Day 5: Everyone spent the day recovering from bike day. We all slugged around- slept, shopped, ate. My friend Jordan and I found this awesome record store hidden away down a side street-Data Records 93. It was massive. I didn’t buy any records….but I will when I go back to Florence with my family and have the space to pack them. 😉 Later that night, as a group, we watched the sunset over Florence again from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Yesterday, we take two trains to get from Florence to Sorrento on the Almafi Coast. We rode 3-4 hours on the bullet train from Florence to Naples. Then rode about another hour on the circumvesuviana train, also known as the circus train, from Naples to Sorrento. We’ll be based in Sorrento for the next 4 days. While based here, we will be taking day trips to Paestum (an ancient Greek city), Pompeii/Mt. Vesuvius, and Capri.