Arriving into Florence, I had no idea what to expect. Everyone knows the Coliseum in Rome, the leaning tower of Pisa, and the canals of Venice but what is Florence famous for? As we passed through the city gates (which has become one of my favorite parts of old European cities), I tried to imagine what was in store.
Well, I would soon learn we were heading for a museum which housed Michaelangelo’s famous sculpture of “David.” The sculpture can be seen on everything from art history books to postcards to television commercials. It truly is an icon of Italy. Yet I had no idea it was to be found in Florence. I think Florence needs to market this fact more broadly and take advantage of this association.
After touring the museum, we embarked on a walking tour with a new tour guide. She first took us to visit the Santa Maria de Fleur or St. Mary of the Flowers cathedral. Made from pink, white and green marble, it is one of the most distinctive cathedrals I have ever seen. We walked all around the exterior of this cathedral before heading off for the remainder of our tour.
Next we walked through some of the older sections of Florence. We passed through a square featuring many artists selling their goods. Another replica statue of “David” was found here as well.
Next we saw several “tower houses”, medieval towers that have been converted into modern homes. Our guide told us they were very modern and nice inside.
Since we arrived late and the sun was already fading, we headed back to our busses and then to our hotel. The next day we headed to Pisa to see it’s famous leaning tower and then returned to Florence for an afternoon of shopping. Florence is also famous for its leather and we had an impromptou fashion show featuring several students and chaperones wearing the latest in Italian fashion.
Speaking of fashion, the one impression I was left with of Florence (and all of Italy) is how impeccably dressed everyone is. Even street kids seem to have a fashion sense that’s greater than those found elsewhere. I now understand why Italy is known for its fine designs from fashion to furniture to sports cars.
Later that evening the students performed at a little church in Florence capping off a wonderful, though brief, visit to Florence, Italy.