When the train pulled up at Firenze Santa Maria Novella Station, I got out and looked for directions amidst the hordes of city dwellers. Having just arrived from Cinque Terre, which was my first ever destination in Italy, Florence was my first taste of the Italian city life. After an hour of adjusting back to the bustling atmosphere, I saw what everyone was telling me about this place. My friends told me a million things about Florence. A million great things, that is.
Past the cars and crowds, Florence is a place that have both the appreciation for the arts and the convenience of a city. After a conversation with my Airbnb host who is a Florentine, I quickly get a sense of the culture here. People live and breathe the arts here. The Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery are just two of the many art galleries here. People randomly open up their beautiful gardens to visitors. Churches are homes to sculptures and art pieces that are worth visiting. Events held here are design centric. Shopping malls are a thing of the past, while brands such as Chanel and Prada are housed in buildings that look like a hundred years old.
As a designer who is also a city dweller, Florence is a great place to get inspired. A city that appreciates languid living, persuading travellers to join the Florentines in wandering the beautiful streets aimlessly.
Reaching the Top of the Duomo
Being my first trip to Florence, I just had to visit the Cathedral of Florence, known to be one of the most celebrated landmarks of the city. The intricate Gothic style facade of the Duomo compliments the overall architecture of the cityscape. I got plenty of time to admire it while queueing up to get into the Duomo. In all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect when I entered the Duomo. What looked innocently as a tour of the Cathedral ended up being a hike up endless flights of stairs. Unlike the Eiffel Tower, the Duomo has no elevator. The only way up is the stairs.
This became quite an adventure as I carefully made my way through the narrow and dark passageways while admiring the interiors and frescos. When I reached the top, I felt sufficiently pleased with myself for accomplishing the climb up 400 over steps. The view from the top of the Duomo is spectacular. It’s a bird’s eye view of Florence.