Florence Night 1 (20 December 2007)

11:59 PM

The train from Rome took about two hours before we reached Florence. We reached Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Firenze SMN). It is the main train station in Florence. Compare to Rome Termini, Firenze Santa Maria Novella is less advance.
When we came out from the train station, Florence made us feel more homely as it was like a town instead of a metropolitan with skyscrapers. All the buildings are not tall. The roads are smaller. Florence has lots more chinese than Rome. It took us a while to find our hotel, Hotel Domus Florentia. It is a three stars hotel. It is located along a walkway. The hotel is on the second floor. The room was clean, the toilet/bathroom is better equipped. If you willing to pay, there are rooms with view.

We checked in and quickly we went out to explore Florence. Remember to ask a map from the hotel staff.


Florence was very peaceful. The architecture of the buildings are unique and old. Florence is famous for its Middle Age and Renaissance arts and buildings.
We didn't have any detail plan of places to visit for Florence. After we left hotel, we walked towards Arno river.The first place of interest we came across was the Ognissanti. It was a church dedicated to all Saints. Next we reached Arno River. It was so beautiful!!! The river was very calm and serene. The river was like a mirror. The buildings on both side of the river were clearly reflected in the river. The sky was blue and there were some greeney afar.The whole Arno river was picturesque.
If the sky is clear and blue, I believe you will take a lot of photo of the river.
There is even a small waterfall nearby.

We crossed Ponte Vespucci into the south of Florence. It is less crowded, and much less tourist. We walked along the river. I was trying to use the same method of 'treasure hunting' we used in Rome in Florence. It proved to be not very well. Some of the attractions in south of Arno River in Florence are not so attracting.

We walked along Arno River till Ponte Vecchio, the main bridge in Florence. Ponte Vecchiob is very unique. There are a lot of shophouses built on the bridge. Ponte Vecchio is main consists of jewelry merchants. It was once houses of goldsmiths. As time goes by, the shops now mainly occupied by jewelry merchants. Nevertheless, the shophouses make the bridge sparkling with gold and shinning diamond.
The architecture of the houses at Ponte Vecchio is very special too.


We crossed Ponte Vecchio, did some window shopping. We stopped for a waffle ice-cream. It costs about EUR4, which was quite expensive.
We were so cold, so we actually wanted to find a place to warm ourselves. :)

After our light tea break, we continued to Piazza della Signoria. Piazza della Signoria is one of the more famous piazza or square in Florence. There are a few places of interest and also the shopping area. It was unintentionally that we reached here. But it is a place you shouldn't miss in Florence. First, there is Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio. Replica of the famous Michelangelo's statue David is located here as well.

Palazzo Vecchio was a town hall. People of Florence came here for meeting during last time. Now, it houses some of the famous art collections, like Michelangelo's Victory. This building is a massive, Tuscan Gothic crenallated fortress-palace over looking Piazza della Signoria.

In front of the palazzo, David is standing strong at the entrance. This David is a replica of the actual one, after the original one moved from here to Accademia. David is a masterpiece by Michelangelo. It was among the first sculpture of human body naked. The statue is very detailed in every piece of human muscle and body structure.
Do take more photo of the statue. On the left of Palazzo Vecchio, there is a area where some other famous statues are located.
Those statues include The Rape of Sabine, Perseus With the Head of Medusa and others.



Piazza della Signoria is also the shopping area of Florence. Boutiques, shophouses, restaurants are all along the street. We were very impressed with the window decoration of some of the shops, like Chanel. The gelati shops were very tempting with their colourful and attracting ice-cream on display. We were really had the urge to have one. There is also a famous local supermarket, Coins. The stuffs inside are branded stuff though.


It was December, there was Christmas decoration. Whole street was decorated with lightings. It was like a shooting stars all over the street.
It was full of Christmas mood, there were people selling christmas decorations along the street.

We had our dinner at a self-service restaurant in the area. The price was reasonable and slightly cheaper than Rome. There are plenty of self-service restaurant in Florence, where you will choose your main course, second dish, drink and dessert at the counter. It is simple and reasonably priced.

After dinner, we went back to hotel to end our first night in Florence. Back to hotel, I started to do some reading on Florence and planned for our next day schedule. I understand more about Florence after the reading.

Tomorrow, Strolling and Appreciating Florence....

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