It’s been a while, but the feelings/memories remain strong. About three weeks ago I went to Florence with two of my good friends and I experienced the most amazing thing…I stood in front of Botticelli’s paintings, The Birth of Venus and La Primavera. Guys. I don’t think you even know. I almost cried! Deep down, I’m a serious art history geek, a really bad one, but I do what I can. Sophomore year of high school I wrote a research paper about these two paintings, unfortunately I can’t find it on my laptop otherwise I’d share it’s glory with the world!
Here they are:
Botticelli, Sandro. The Birth of Venus. 1478. Tempera on canvas. The Uffizi, Florence.
Besides being speechless for a good 30 minutes, there were so many other great things to see and do in Florence. Our train from Bologna left at 6:20 AM and took about 2 hours. I was pretty sure I was gonna die from exhaustion and hunger so the first thing we did upon our arrival was eat McDonalds…we’re all about cultural experiences y’all! (Also just a little FYI, McDonalds is pretty expensive in Italy…what’s that about?) After eating we walked to the Duomo, then waited in line for the Uffizi for probably an hour, walked through the Uffizi, ate kebabs for lunch, and then meandered through the side streets and piazzas. We ended up back at the Duomo but my friend Urvashi and I weren’t actually allowed to go inside because we were wearing “revealing” clothing (shorts).
After waiting for our friend David for over an hour while he walked through the church, we walked across the Ponte Vecchio which sold lots of absurdly expensive jewelry. I bought a beautiful journal that I LOVE LOVE LOVE but have unfortunately lost the time to write in. After dinner (Chinese food) we walked back across the bridge to just be present and take in the city. I got gelato…it was pretty awesome! It was half cinnamon, half chocolate (it’s the way to go people!)
Before waiting in line for the Uffizi we snapped some pics in front of the Ponte Vecchio. The Medici family had the portion above the bridge built so they could walk directly from their castle/mansion (Palazzo Vecchio) to the Uffizi without interacting with any commoners. Can you say pretentious?
The brown people take Florence!
The Duomo can be seen pretty much anywhere in the city.
Me and that Duomo! Gotta love a good Duomo. Duomo. Funny word.
So as beautiful as the city is, I was ready to head back to Bologna by the end of the day. The amount of tourists is kind of oppressive and you hear english everywhere you go. With its stunning museums housing jaw-dropping works of art, beautiful and iconic architecture, and rich history, of course tourists are going to flood the cobble-stone streets. I guess that’s the price you pay.
I cannot imagine studying abroad in Florence, or really anywhere but Bologna. In Bologna I am surrounded by students from all over Italy and Europe. I can order coffee in Italian or become besties with the woman at Pizza Irnerio. The city is so ethnically diverse, but not because of masses of tourists crowding the piazzas. It’s dirty and obviously worn-in; in Florence I didn’t feel like anybody actually lived there since the streets were so pristine. In Bologna graffiti is seen on every wall, bottles line the streets, and you catch whiffs of weed and trash, almost like San Francisco! I know this post is supposed to be about Florence but I think the number one thing I realized that day was the Bologna is the best city ever and I can’t conceive of studying or living anywhere else in Italy. I was homesick for my città rossa, but it was good to feel this because I knew I had found my home.