mon première fois en italie!

23 February 2009 at 8:06 am 3 comments

So, Florence was amazing. The architecture, the art, the food… awesome. I wish we could have had more time there and I already can’t wait to go back.

dscn1751We left early in the morning and spent most of the day on the bus. We did stop for a couple of hours in Pisa, to see the famous leaning tower. The entire square had beautiful architecture, although the architect remains unknown since the tower only became famous after it began to lean. There are two theories: either the soil eroded gradually, causing the lean, or it was part of the original design. Personally, I think it was the former. Of course, I took the obligatory leaning-on-the-tower photo (as did about 100 other tourists while I was there… it was really a funny sight.)  Another funny thing, too – I was buying a patch from a souvenir shop (I am collecting patches from everywhere I visit to sew onto my luggage) and the cashier thought I was a Spaniard. Rather than saying “due euros” or even “two euros,” she said “dos.” Fortunately I know how to count to ten in Spanish, so the transaction worked out fine… but I giggled to myself a bit and was excited that I wasn’t so easily pinpointed as an American, for once.

We arrived in Florence in the evening, and my weekend commenced with a bit of bad luck. I somehow got locked in my hotel bathroom (I swear, I didn’t even lock it! It just got stuck!) and spent about five minutes ramming my body against the door trying to open it. I was petrified I would get stuck in there and my roommate, Alexa, wouldn’t come back and I’d be trapped in the bathroom for all of the weekend. Fortunately, after a lot of jiggling the handle and ramming the door, it flew open. Thank goodness! I would have missed so much if it hadn’t. First we explored a bit, and since our hotel, the Hotel Pedini, was located right near the central plaza, we were able to see a lot in a short time. We ended up at the Duomo, which is the most phenomenal buidling I have ever seen. More to come on that.

For dinner, a group of us met up with some of Bre’s friends who are studying in Florence, and I had the most delicious spaghetti dinner ever. It was called Spaghetti Nonna Rosa, and it was perfectly al dente with a delicious pink sauce. And it was cheap, too! I tasted some Italian wines throughout the evening, appropriately concluding at a hole in the wall wine bar with a glass of Chianti. We didn’t stay out too late, though, as we wanted to be well rested for the long day we had to come on Saturday.


As much as I hate early mornings, Saturday’s early start was worth it. We took a walking tour around the city, guided by this adorable older Italian woman whose enthusiasm for the city’s history was exhilerating. We started off at the Piazza Della Republica (the center square near our hotel) and walked toward the Piazza Del Duomo. Seeing the Duomo in daylight was amazing. The intricacies in the marble exterior were breathtaking. We also saw the replica of Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, which I immediately remembered from my art history class. What else? It’s so hard to remember all of the sights we saw. We went to the Piazza Della Signoria, also, which is the political square, and is filled with beautiful statues. We passed by the market, and rubbed the famous boar’s nose (apparently that means I’m coming back to Florence! Which is true… for my 21st birthday!) I also was excited to see the Arno River, because, well, Arno Pro is my favorite font. Yes, I’ve become a bit of a typography nut. There was even more than that, including many more beautiful cathedrals, but the morning has become a bit of a blurred memory — too much to take in, perhaps.


After another delicious Italian meal, my friends and I headed back to the Duomo to climb the 463 stairs to the top of the dome. I almost didn’t do it, but thank god I did. Although I feared a mild asthma attack on the way up, it was completely worth it. Not only was it a silly and fun time climbing the steps with my friends, but at the top, the view was unbelievable. We could see the entire city – in fact, we were able to figure out where we were going next just from our bird’s eye view. Who needs maps?!

Next…the gelato in Florence was delicious. Enough said. Then, I spent much of my afternoon at the Uffizi Gallery and saw some amazing artwork including The Birth of Venus. It was a shame that I couldn’t take photos in any of the galleries.

More Italian food for dinner – we ended up at a more fancy restaurant with a large group of us, and yet again, I can’t remember the name. Aqua-something. I ordered egglant and mozzeralla, which was delicious, but an incredibly small portion. Luckily, some other friends were happy to share with me their leftovers. Dinner lasted a long time (which is something I really love about dining in Europe… lots of time to socialize, and no one is rushing you.) Afterwards, we checked out the nightlife in Florence, starting at a cute bar (which is again I didn’t notice the name of), and then heading to a club called Twice, which was so much fun. We ran into some of the other girls from AIFS, who had happened to land a spot dancing in the VIP area, thus getting us VIP status as well! Some of my friends moved on to another club, but my friend Allie and I stayed and got two rounds of free drinks (brought to us  chilled and with sparklers for added glamour) as VIPs. It was really fun, and turned into a late night, complete with aching feet (stilettos… pain for beauty, I suppose.)

The following early morning wasn’t so bad, because I woke up anticipating seeing DAVID at the Galleria Dell’Accademia (a seemingly hole-in-the-wall museum), which ended up being PHENOMENAL. He’s huge (17 feet tall!), and he’s flawless, and Michaelangelo is a freakin’ genius. I’d heard so much about him in my art history class, but I never imagined anything so magnificent.

Unfortunately, the weekend had to end around noon, and we boarded the bus for another six hours. A friends marathon made the second half of the ride easier to endure. Last night, I tried to update my blog and my photos, but I was so exhausted that I passed out at 10 pm. But here they are now! Forgive me for the long winded post… and the bits of listing experiences… I just never want to forget them!


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ici à cannes à la plage

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alyssa  |  23 February 2009 at 11:13 am

    Sarah, I was mistaken as a Spainard as well I am sure I told you that, must be an Italian thing! haha Did your tour guide ruin the news that the baptistery doors you looked at were not the real ones and the the reals ones are in the Museo Dell’ Duomo behind the Duomo, if not sorry cause I just ruined it for you! haha Me and my roommates all took pics in front of them until we found out they were not the real doors! haha Ohh and was the restaurant called Aqua Al’ Due with lots of dishes on the walls signed by famous people and with really good steak like a blueberry steak and balsamic vinegarette steak? If so I went there AMAZING! well I miss you and glad you had a good time ciao ciao
    Your Italian friend bored back here in the states!

  • 2. Baird  |  23 February 2009 at 11:17 am

    I love that you not only have a favorite font, but that seeing the river for which it is named made you so excited. You are a nut 🙂

    And I’m glad you did the obligatory Leaning-Tower picture.

    It’s so awesome that you get to go back to Florence! It sounds like such a beautiful place–such amazing stories.

  • 3. G'ma  |  23 February 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Sounds like a whirlwind tour of Florence and you hit all the highlights! Glad you liked the David. And the food in Italy is so delicious! Not to mention the wine!


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Sarah in Cannes

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