After spending all our time in Florence either jumping on a train to another town or wandering around getting lost in the dark, it was finally time to actually see the city in the day light. Despite how “small” it is, there is SO much to see there. After my initial aversion to Florence, I was really starting to see what other people love about it.
At this point in our trip we were properly buggered. Not even talking about the sore knee and bodies. I mean that kind of tired where you just can’t wake up. So despite our plan for another early start to go and see David, we only got up at 8am. It was so freaking wonderful. I felt like I was walking on air by the time that we got dressed and ready for the day. It’s exactly what we needed.
By this time we’d totally nailed the bus system and we hopped on our bus, eager to get to see David. The problem was that by the time we got to the museum that David was in, the line was already a THREE HOUR long wait. At this point Seth was really keen to see it, but not having studied any art history and not really knowing about it, I didn’t mind missing it. However as we walked down the line to find the end, we walked past a man that was offering a tour. Yes it was a LOT more than the normal ticket price but for a 15 minute wait and an hour long tour I’d pay it again in a heart beat.
While we were waiting in the line our guide told us a lot about what we were going to see, the history of some of the other art around the town and so much about Michelangelo that I didn’t know. In fact, by the time we actually walked into the gallery I was pretty excited to see this statue. He’d piqued my interest and I was invested in the whole thing now.
What I really liked about the gallery is how they set it all out. First you walk into some dark rooms that are filled with gold leafed paintings – very different from the artwork we’d seen in Rome. Then you head out to this long, brightly lit corridor. At the beginning as you walk through you see 5 different figures that he had started and not finished, then one of Mary holding Jesus, also not properly finished and then right at the end you see David.
Wow. Guys. I was moved. And that takes a lot. But having it described to us in intricate detail and with such passion that our guide had, it came to life. It’s amazing how each angle has a different look and feel about it, and just the presence that the statue holds in and of itself was just incredible. The absolute highlight of our day in Florence for sure.
By this time we were starving. We hadn’t eaten a thing since leaving the house and when in Italy I have learned that one needs to eat ALL the time. Mostly because there are incredible smells drifting from every corner shop.
We ended up stopping at a local cafe that was actually rather fancy. They seem to do baked goods where you could buy whole cakes and they were absolutely beautiful. We did the cheap, uh, “local” thing of standing at the bar downing our Americanos and shovelling an egg and procuitto roll into our mouths.
Then it was time to climb the Duomo. Which we really should have bought tickets for because the next tickets were only for the next day! Typical. Our lack of planning biting us in the butt again. However, we climbed the bell tower thingy and I think it actually worked out better because you could see the top of the Duomo instead of being on that and looking at everything else. Also the line was WAY shorter.
It was a heck of a climb though and up very narrow staircases. But the views. Wow, the views were just stunning!
The tickets also gave us access to another dome shaped building across the road from the Duomo. Another one that had ceilings done with gold leaf. The amount of gold hiding in artworks around Italy is bizarre. This building told the story of the bible in pictures on the ceiling. It was hurting my neck to peer up at it but it always blow my mind how they were able to do this.
Also that something like this took SO many years that by the time that the first person started it they would die and not actually see it finished. That they did it for the greater good of the people and their belief in Jesus and not for themselves. Amazing.
These tickets ALSO gave us entrance into the museum that held the only other work of Michelangelo in the city. I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s very close to the Duomo.
There’s a lot to see in there, most of it was rushed past because it was not really that interesting. But when we got to the work that Michelangelo did you actually have to stop and look at it. What blew my mind was not actually this art work (David already did a good job of that) but the words of Michelangelo on the opposite wall. I can’t for the life of my find that quote right now which is a great pity, but it is moving.
After that we were hungry. Again. What did I tell you, Italy and food are basically synonyms. So we stopped for a quick apperitivo and then again for some gelato.
We used this time in the afternoon to shop for our loved ones. Florence is obvs a bit cheaper than Rome AND they specialise in leather. There were some beautiful bags and wallets that we bought and clothing too. And smaller things like chocolate and nut spreads. We also had to restock our own wardrobes so that we could make it to the end of the trip in clean clothes. We headed up that street that we accidentally wondered up on the one night that we got lost on our way home.
I really expected so much more of the Italian clothing. I think we have WAY better selection here to be honest. Everything there was covered in shiny things or words that just looked cheap. I’m not really one to wear branded T-shirts unless I am absolutely in love with them. So I didn’t get much.
After dropping off all our goodies it was time to freshen up to head out to see the city in the day light. What I absolutely adore about Italy is that you could walk around anywhere and feel safe. There are people (single women) walking their dogs at like 11pm. No worries. We walked through a subway and although it was covered in graffiti it didn’t smell like wee!
We’d decided that we were going to head up to the Piazza Michelangelo to watch the sunset. Yes it might be a bit of a Tripadvisor thing that EVERYONE was doing but we wanted to see the fake Michelangelo that was in that square while we were there. To get there we went past all of the famous bridges in the area and it was such an incredible sight to see. It’s famous because there are jewellery shops lining all the sides of it.
While we were walking past I saw an artist doing artworks. I knew I wanted to take home something that was handcrafted and so I basically begged Seth for one. I’m not going to tell you exactly how much we paid. But it was a lot. If I was in South Africa and someone charged me that for the size of the painting that I bought I would have laughed in their faces. Maybe I was supposed to barter but I’m not really about that life. So I paid it. Then I think the guy felt sorry for taking all our money and gave me a little art lesson. It made it just a little bit more worth it. A little bit haha. I’m basically Michelangelo right now.
Then we got to the Piazza with about 406569 other people and settled in to watch the sunset over Florence. It was WORTH IT.
We found a restaurant that had a BUFFET apperitivo selection. So that was our supper.
Unfortunately we found ourselves sitting next to the loudest group of tourists ever. Can you guess where they were from? Not sure? Let me tell you. They were American. And they were loud. So very loud. So loud that we actually couldn’t even have a conversation because we were just continuously interrupted. We ended up eating in silence listening to their conversation. Not exactly the way I pictured ending the evening but it was OK.
We headed home and started getting ready for our last leg of our trip – VENICE!
FOR MORE ON OUR ITALIAN TRIP DON’T MISS:
- What We Packed In Our Backpacks for 9 Days in Italy
- Leaving Cape Town
- Day 1 – Rome
- Day 1 – A Day In Rome – Photodiary
- Day 2- A Morning in Naples Climbing Mount Vesuvius
- Day 2 – An Afternoon In Pompeii
- Day 2 – A Night In Rome In Search Of the Best Gelato and Caffe
- Day 3 – The Roman Suburb Of Trastevere
- Day 4 – Rome To Florence
- Day 5 – A Morning In Pisa
- Day 5 – An Afternoon Exploring The Cinque Terre
Day 6: Florence We’ve been in this city for 2 days now but we hadn’t checked off all the cool things to do here. So obvs we set that straight today. Highlights: 1. I’m not sure if it’s because Rome was the first city we explored or what, but for me, even though Florence is super, it’s not quite as amazing as I found Rome. 2. We started our morning late on one espresso and a prayer that we’d make it to see David. We got there around 9 and the line was already on 3 hours waiting time. Cray cray. So we got a tour and we were inside in 15 minutes with an hour long explanation too. 3. I don’t think I would have appreciated David as much as I did if it were not for the tour guide. I actually felt moved looking at him. (David – not the tour guide ??) 4. We had lunch standing in a random bar like locals. (It’s cheaper than sitting) 5. Then we got our tickets for the Duomo etc. We climbed the bell tower (it’s really high up hence my weird face), went into the other thingy and the museum. Sadly we have to miss the Duomo climb to the top and Cathedral because it was full. 6. Florence is by far the most affordable city we’ve been to, so we bought some goodies to take back. 7. The underground subways don’t smell like wee. 8. We went over the Vecchio bridge and after I bought a small painting the sweet man gave me a little lesson. It was like being taught by Michael Angelo himself. ? 9. We went up to the Piazza to watch the sunset over Florence and it made me love this city a little more and now I’m sad to leave. 10. I actually took the anti inflammatories today and this really weird thing happened – it helped my knee feel better. Who knew right? We still managed to keep to a real moderate 18km today so we’re getting better at this bus and chill thing. Tomorrow we head to Venice for the last leg of our trip. Bitter sweet really. I’m loving all of this exploring but I’m starting to really miss my babies!