Travelling from Rome to Florence, I've already got an inkling of how beautiful, it will be. Well, not only because I've read and heard so much about it, but even the scenery- fields and fields of sunflowers, flashing by; made me take a break from the book I was reading; (mind you, I was at the climax of the story.)
Florence, or Firenze, if you prefer its Italian name; is the birthplace of the Renaissance, thanks to the Medici family. Even if you have no idea what Renaissance is, or who the Medici family are; you'd know, the beauty of it, when you stand in front of the Duomo at Piazza del Duomo. The beautiful, dome shaped basilica, completed in the 15th century is one of the largest cathedrals in Italy and going up to the top, requires one to scale 430 odd steps, in an extremely claustrophobic space.
But of course, the view, is amazing. Regrettably, I did not go up the St. Paul's Basilica in the Vatican, but what I've experienced on top of the Duomo; is enough. I've been blessed enough, to be able to get a bird's eye view of the many cities I've been to; and yet, strangely, the feeling I get each time, is so different.
Like Rome, the city is so seeped with history and culture; but Florence, is just so different. Personally, I feel that it's so much more beautiful, actually. It may be the view over the Arno River from Ponte Vecchio; or the view of the beautiful tiled facade of the Duomo; or simply, the vibrance of the Italians and tourists alike, which the Leather Market exuberates. Whatever it is, there's something magical, about walking down the cobblestoned streets.
Siena, is a quaint, little town. No other words to describe it. We were there on a day trip and were lucky enough to experience a parade which the winning team (and their supporters!) of the infamous Il Palio, had put up, just to celebrate! From parents pushing their babies in strollers to old signors and signoras, and every one in between; everybody was so happy, and excited, and one could tell that they are genuinely proud of their win; (and definitely aren't afraid to show it!)
Siena is definitely a town to wander and get lost in. And that was how we've chanced upon beautiful alleys, little, private piazzas (I'm pretty sure, I've used the wrong... word, but I've forgotten what it is!), water fountains and one of the best tagliatelle dish which I've tried. Sitting by a cafe at the Piazza del Campo, sipping my cafe latte and people watching- that afternoon must be one of the most luxurious experience I've had. Not because it was expensive; no, but the luxury lies in being able to to while time away, and enjoying the little moments in life. That is something which money cannot buy.
Park Chang Woo, Seoul, South Korea, Via Nazionale, Florence
Serena, Venice, Italy, Piazza del Conte, Siena
Gipsy & Asher, Australia, Outside Caffe Fonte Gaia, Siena